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Henderson City Council adopts 6-month moratorium on sale of recreational marijuana

The Henderson City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance Tuesday declaring a six-month moratorium on the sale of recreational marijuana.

The ordinance follows the passage of Question 2, which legalized recreational marijuana in Nevada.

“We felt that it should coincide with the state’s timing to create regulations for this,” Councilwoman Debra March said. “While we support the voters right to pass this, we also want to protect our community and lifestyle. That’s why we chose a six-month moratorium.”

City Council members had considered a nearly yearlong ban, focusing on the application, licensing, and operation of recreational marijuana establishments and the cultivation, manufacturing, production, testing, transportation and the sale of recreational marijuana.

However, after much discussion, the council opted to shorten the moratorium and focus solely on the sale of recreational marijuana.

“I think we’ve done so much work on this issue that we can get it done in six months,” Councilman John Marz said. “The rest is a total separate issue.”

The ordinance states the moratorium can be eliminated at any time once the City Council adopts regulations on the sale of recreational marijuana. The council can also extend the ordinance by 180 days.

Although recreational marijuana became legal this year for adults 21 and older, stores cannot sell it for several months. Question 2 gives the state’s Taxation Department until Jan. 1, to craft the regulations that will govern retail marijuana dispensary licenses and sales.

According to the ordinance, the moratorium will help city officials “thoughtfully consider how any regulations of the City would fit into the regulatory scheme enacted by the State of Nevada.”

Before Tuesday’s council meeting, city officials heard public concerns about the temporary ban.

“I am still outraged that the government of the city of Henderson thinks it can do that,” said Aleksey Svirid, who wrote the council an email of discontent. “Voters voted and decided that legalizing marijuana would do good for our state and city itself. Taxes could help and go to our schools, health system, whatever problems our state is facing now. By prolonging this, government is wasting time.”

The city has issued 15 business licenses for medical marijuana establishments — five dispensaries, six cultivation facilities, three production facilities and one cultivation and production facility.

Contact Sandy Lopez at slopez@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4686. Follow @JournalismSandy on Twitter.

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