Boulder City considers banning medical marijuana dispensaries

Boulder City doesn’t want gambling.

It doesn’t want much growth.

Now it looks like it doesn’t want medical marijuana, either.

The least populous of Clark County’s cities is considering an ordinance that would ban medical marijuana dispensaries, grow houses, state labs and any other facilities associated with the “Green Rush” industry — as the movement is being hailed across the country.

On Feb. 25, the council is expected to vote on the controversial subject after hearing from its citizens.

If the the ban is approved, Boulder City would become the first city in Clark County to enact one.

While Las Vegas and Henderson have placed moratoriums on dispensaries and are weighing their options, the Boulder City council on Tuesday introduced an ordinance that would keep the dispensaries and grow houses from operating within its 207 square miles.

An eight-page report compiled by City Attorney David Olsen cited federal law, health concerns and a potential increase in crime.

Mayor Roger Tobler said he thought allowing dispensaries would be dangerous to the city and possibly attract drug cartels to town.

For his part, City Manager David Fraser said he didn’t think the council would be “making a mistake” if it decided to outlaw the dispensaries. Yet he added that it was equally important that the council hear from the citizens.

It looks as if the council is going to approve the ban, he said, mostly because marijuana possession and cultivation are against federal law.

“We’re not trying to push this through … but we do have concerns with getting in the middle of this tug of war that’s going on across the country between state law and federal law,” said Fraser.

“We’d rather not get in the middle of it all.”

THANKS, UNCLE SAM

That the city appears poised to side with federal law might not be all that surprising.

After all, this is a city that never would have existed had it not been for the federal government and the construction of what was then called Boulder Dam during the early 1930s.

Boulder City, with its diagonal streets, was meant to be a carbon copy of the nation’s capital, built for the purpose of housing government workers when the construction of the dam was going full-bore.

“It’s one of the first master-planned communities in the country,” said Fraser, adding that the federal government “basically handed over the land to us” in 1961, when the city was incorporated.

Boulder City’s history is steeped in caution and slow-growth policies. For example, the city doesn’t allow gambling, even though the nation’s biggest gambling city is nearby.

And when more than an acre of city land is put up for sale by what is gegraphically the largest city in the state, the decision often rests with the nearly 17,000 residents, who end up voting on the matter, Fraser said.

Now comes the possibility of medical marijuana dispensaries. At least two dozen states have acknowledged that marijuana can be a viable form of medicine, capable of raising revenue if regulated properly.

Dispensaries also can be a boon for those in the business of dispensing the medication.

In the report, however, Olsen, the city attorney, states that the advent of such dispensaries would be incompatible with the health, safety and welfare of the city. It could lead to an increase in burglaries, robberies and illegal sales.

It could lead to cancer among those who smoke it, and its usage while driving could double the risk of fatal car crashes, Olsen wrote, citing several studies.

“A fundamental duty of the Boulder City Council is to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the people of Boulder City,” Olsen wrote. “Boulder City has a long tradition of applying strict land use standards to protect the unique nature of the city.”

AGAINST FEDERAL LAW

But perhaps more important, the presence of dispensaries would run counter to two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that the federal Controlled Substance Act prohibits the cultivation, distribution, possession and use of marijuana, medical or otherwise.

Olsen cited U.S. v. Oakland Cannabis Buyer’s Cooperative in 2001 and Gonzales v. Raich in 2005.

Nearly two dozen states across the county have rolled the dice and ignored such precedents. They have legalized medical marijuana and have allowed the opening of dispensaries.

Nevada is one of the most recent states to do so, with the passage of Senate Bill 374 in the spring.

The new law was meant to solve an obvious problem: While the Silver State legalized medical marijuana in 2001, it failed to provide a place where patients could purchase their medications, whose names run the gamut from “master cush” to “purple haze” to “Charlotte’s web” to “train wreck.”

Boulder City could become the first city to outlaw marijuana dispensaries in Clark County, where 40 dispensaries are authorized to operate under the state’s medical marijuana law.

But also under the state’s law, if patients cannot find a dispensary within 25 miles of where they live, they are allowed to grow up to 12 plants of their own. If the county and the cities of Las Vegas and Henderson decide to put the kibosh on the medical dispensaries as well, then medical marijuana patients could grow their own in Boulder City legally.

“But it’s not going to be a farm,” said Fraser. “It can’t be a huge operation.”

‘ALCOHOL IS MORE DANGEROUS’

Of the two dozen people interviewed Wednesday, only two supported the idea of dispensaries: a former Olympia, Wash., police officer who lives in Boulder City during the winter, and a 30-year-old who grew up here.

“I think if you’re an adult you should be able to do what you want, and no government should be holding your hand,” said Clay Narey, who said he doesn’t smoke marijuana but sympathizes with those who do so for medical reasons. “But this is a conservative town. I had a lot of friends who grew up as Mormons and it’s not a part of their lifestyle, whether they’re sick or not.”

John Tupper, 57, who worked as a police officer in Washington state for 30 years, said he’s all for the dispensaries. He said that in his three decades as a cop, he never saw a link between marijuana and an increase in crime.

“I know that’s what people here probably fear the most,” he said. “They’re afraid it’s going to bring a criminal element to town, but I never saw anyone ever crawling up over fences to steal somebody’s pot plant. I think alcohol is more dangerous when you get right down to it.”

Contact reporter Tom Ragan at tragan@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5512.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Man killed during road-rage incident
Las Vegas police are looking for two men involved in the shooting death of a man outside a 7-Eleven story at Bonanza Road and Maryland Parkway on Nov. 12, 2018. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like