Joining the green rush is going to take a lot of green, and it’s also moving along just too fast for many in the state of Nevada to feel comfortable with.
In 2013, the Nevada Legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow for 66 medical marijuana business licenses, with 40 in Clark County. As many as 425 applications for services from growing facilities to dispensaries are expected.
Under the law, four types of medical marijuana establishments are allowed: cultivation facilities, dispensaries, production facilities and independent testing labs.
However, a myriad of problems may be around the corner and many of the state’s district attorney’s are expressing concern.
Lincoln County District Attorney Daniel Hooge said the issued was discussed in general, at a meeting of the State’s District Attorney’s Association in Carson City last week.
Hooge notes, “There are a lot of cities and counties doing a six-month moratorium. It’s kind of a wait-and-see provision. A step back a bit and let the dust settle and see how it all plays out.”
The moratorium could then be reexamined after six months with a possible one time six-month further extension.
Hooge said the moratorium allows county commissions to “freeze all building permits and business licenses related to medical marijuana.” He said someone who wanted to have personal grow plants could still have them, “but no one could sell or grow for profit or have a business that sells for profit.”
Lincoln County has not passed a moratorium as yet, and did not set a date for a future commission meeting when they might, or might not, do so.
Laura Oslund, of Pahrump, with the Nye, Lincoln and Esmeralda Communities Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, attended the commission meeting, and told commissioners if they do not make a decision, “the state of Nevada will approve marijuana grow houses in a county that looks like they don’t care.” However, she said, if a county does declare a moratorium, the state will honor that.
Oslund expressed concern over what is happening with medical marijuana.
“The things that are happening with that (marijuana), we would not even come close to allowing with prescription drugs.” She said the Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper, spoke at a Governors conference recently in Washington D.C, and told fellow governors, “If you do not have it in your books now, do not put it in.”
A strong opponent of medical marijuana, Oslund said most states are just looking at the high tax dollars that will come from the sale of marijuana, but will really only see about $1 million after costs for prevention, treatment programs, law enforcement.
She asked, “Why is it being pushed so hard when there is so much unknown about it?”
She noted also statistics for fatalities related to marijuana use in Colorado has increased 114 percent. “It will be hard for the court systems, law enforcement and your society. The state is not going to make any money on it,” she said. “The only ones who are making money are those who are growing and selling it. It will always cost your community and county to pay for the treatments and law enforcement. The people who are making the money are sending it somewhere else.”
Lincoln County Commissioners did not set a date for a possible moratorium, and plan to discuss the idea further in a future meeting.