Henderson council approves 5 recreational pot dispensaries

After months of deliberation, retail marijuana will soon be sold in Henderson.

The Henderson City Council on Tuesday approved five medical marijuana dispensaries to begin recreational sales, marking the first such stores in a city that had been slow to accept the retail businesses.

The five-member council voted 4-1 to approve four of the licenses, with Ward 2 Councilman John Marz supplying the no vote each time; Mayor Debra March, Councilwoman Gerri Schroder and Councilmen Dan Stewart and Dan Shaw voted yes.

One license vote was 3-2, with Marz and Stewart voting no.

“This makes the most sense,” said Armen Yemenidjian, owner and CEO of dispensary Essence Vegas. “Just because retail marijuana hasn’t been sold here doesn’t mean people haven’t been purchasing it. They’ve just been going to other jurisdictions. This is going to be a great opportunity for the city.”

In February, Henderson passed a six-month moratorium on recreational marijuana. The moratorium was extended in August and lifted last month by a 3-2 vote; Marz and Stewart voted no.

Retail sales have been allowed in Nevada since July 1.

Retail marijuana sales in Henderson are expected to begin Friday, city spokesman David Cherry said.

It will cost approximately $71,000 for recreational marijuana licenses, business operations manager Michael Cathcart said.

Zoning regulations were adopted in September that require all marijuana facilities or stores to be at least 300 feet from community facilities and 1,000 feet from schools, public parks and playgrounds. Dispensaries must also be at least 1 mile apart.

The sale of recreational marijuana in Henderson comes almost a year after the approval of Question 2 in the November election. Recreational marijuana became legal this year in Nevada for adults 21 years and older.

Stores can be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Previously, medical marijuana stores were not allowed to be open past 8 p.m., according to the ordinance.

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

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