A recent article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes while much of urban Nevada is moving forward quickly to license medical marijuana dispensaries, i.e, Reno, Carson City, Las Vegas and Henderson, many local governments in rural Nevada are not much interested.

In addition, the article states, there seems to be a lack of interest by entrepreneurs to operate in sparsely populated areas. Few applications to dispense have been received, according to the Nevada Association of Counties.

However, Jim Toreson of Rachel has spoken to Lincoln County Commissioners about his interest in establishing a growing and dispensing facility on land he owns in Rachel.

In early July, the report says, the City Council of Fernley, with a population of nearly 20,000, voted 3-1 to prohibit the growing, and manufacturing of marijuana for medical purposes within the city limits. Boulder City has done the same, and the Mesquite City Council is still considering the idea. Elko has imposed a two-year moratorium while they study the subject.

A number of proponents of selling medical marijuana say the towns and counties are giving up a chance of a windfall in tax revenue that could be generated.

Opponents say figures in other states that do have medical marijuana say the only people who are making any money are the growers and dispensers. The county is having to use any extra money to enforce the many problems of abuse and illegal use, which still continues to be a huge problem.

The RJ article notes the drug has been touted as an effective pain reliever that counters nausea, helping cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Legalization proponents also say it helps patients with AIDS, glaucoma, epilepsy and a handful of other diseases.

Meanwhile, the article quotes RN Julie Monteiro saying, “Since we as citizens of the state of Nevada passed this law in 2001, it’s been a right to grow marijuana in the state, but we as patients are suffering because not everyone can grow it. If we the people have decided this issue in 2000, how can cities veto something that has been voted into law?”

She thinks this will only encourage patients to continue to buy the medicine on the black market.

Concerns from Lincoln County as well as other rural counties, include the conflict with federal drug laws that prohibit the growing or sales, as well as a persistent idea, especially among law enforcement, it will lead to an increase in crime.

The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health will accept applications for medical marijuana licenses over 10 working days starting Aug. 5 and ending Aug 18. Then a 90-day review process will begin. State officials will score and rank dispensaries, cultivators, laboratories and production facilities for the entire state.

On June 2, the Board of Lincoln County Commissioners, by a split vote of 2-2, with Commissioner Paul Mathews absent, did not approve a proposed county ordinance to amend the Lincoln County Code regarding the prohibition of medical marijuana establishments as a matter of land use throughout unincorporated areas of the county.

Only about five or six people attended the public hearing on the ordinance that day. Commissioners later favored a moratorium, rather than an outright ban, to allow them up to six more months to study the issue more completely. 

District Attorney Daniel Hooge said after the six months, one additional extension could be applied for.