At their regular meeting March 4, county commissioners had the first reading of two draft ordinances amending the Lincoln County Code regarding local marijuana establishments.
The date for an open public hearing was set for April 1 at 11 a.m. at the County Courthouse in Pioche.
One ordinance calls for adding a new chapter pertaining to marijuana establishments. This is to set forth the procedures and requirements for the issuance of marijuana establishment licenses, establish fees and taxes and set forth provisions related to license renewal and zoning.
The second ordinance calls for prohibiting recreational marijuana establishments altogether as a matter of land use throughout the unincorporated areas of Lincoln County.
As this was just the first reading of the ordinances, no immediate action could be taken. District Attorney Dylan Frehner read a summary of the ordinances rather than going into a detailed explanation of each one.
He said these are “only drafts, the first reading, and there are likely to be a lot of things that still need to be changed in here, but this is moving the process forward.”
The second ordinance, Frehner said, “only deals with recreational marijuana because there is already an existing ordinance that restricts medical marijuana establishments in the county.”
Commissioner Jared Brackenbury, filling in for absent chair Varlin Higbee, said he very much wanted to hear from the public regarding the issue, “and what direction they would like to go on this before we vote.”
Commissioner Nathan Katschke, the author of both ordinances, said he worked closely in cooperation with the district attorney’s office.
“On a personal note,” he added, “with the research I have done [in creating the two options, one for and one against], it solidified my previous position that I do not want recreational marijuana anywhere in Lincoln County.”
Brackenbury, the only one of the five-man board who favors allowing the growing and processing of recreational marijuana on a commercial basis, said his primary reasons are “because it’s here and I want some of the tax revenue to help the county, and as far as medical purposes, if there is a way to help get people off some of these opioids and the crisis it brings, I’m for that.”
Commissioner Kevin Phillips reported on the results of an initiative petition from the county clerk’s office on state ballot Measure 2 in the Nevada 2016 election. He said, “At that time, 67.1 percent of the voters in Lincoln County voted No to allow recreational marijuana, 38.6 voted Yes.”
The April 1 meeting will show how attitudes may have changed, or not.