Rural Nevada not embracing legalized recreational marijuana
LAS VEGAS — Despite more marijuana licenses available from the state, parts of rural Nevada continue to shun the business.
But in other parts of rural Nevada, seeds of industry might be sprouting.
Las Vegas dispensary Acres Cannabis has a dispensary under development in Ely. Acres CEO John Mueller said he hopes once his and other dispensaries under development in rural Nevada become operational, other cities and counties might warm up to marijuana.
“All of us fight for city of Las Vegas tourists,” Mueller said. “The rural market is underserved, really, across the country.”
Representatives in Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Pershing, and Storey counties and in Elko told the Review-Journal they either have ordinances on their books that prohibit marijuana sales locally or have not seen any interest in local sales.
Mueller said that he expects to open his dispensary in Ely on Jan. 1 and that it will serve medical patients at least. But he should learn by Nov. 30 whether his business is licensed for both medical and recreational sales.
Silver State Relief has a medical marijuana dispensary under development in Fernley, and Deep Roots Medical has one under development in West Wendover.
Fernley city Manager Daphne Hooper said the city allows medical marijuana sales and dispensaries that sell both medical and recreational marijuana. The city doesn’t allow solely recreational dispensaries.
West Wendover City Manager Chris Melville said the city allows medical marijuana dispensaries but no cultivation or production businesses for marijuana used recreationally.
Elko City Manager Curtis Calder said the marijuana ordinance could come up for debate after a new city council is seated in January.
Two council members are termed out, and mayoral candidate Marcey Logsden has publicly supported medical marijuana.
Logsden is running against Councilman Reece Keener, who voted to ban medical marijuana dispensaries locally. The mayor’s race is nonpartisan.
A letter signed by Wells City Manager Jolene Supp said the city will allow one local dispensary.
And Winnemucca-based lawyer Rendal Miller is expected to ask Humboldt County commissioners in October to approve his marijuana business despite a 2017 ordinance prohibiting growth and sales.
“It is my sense that the board will not reverse their position, but you never know,” county Manager Dave Mendiola said. “The core issue is really the federal ban on marijuana.”
Miller did not return requests for comment.
Marijuana and brothels
A marijuana sales ban but allowing people to sell sex in parts of rural Nevada may have outsiders scratching their heads.
In the city of Elko, home to places like Desert Rose Gentleman’s Club and Legal Brothel, people’s attitudes may be the product of history.
“They are a cultural part of the community and are viewed in a positive light,” Elko City Manager Curtis Calder said.
Though Elko County has outlawed brothels in its unincorporated areas, county Commissioner John Karr said the brothels in the Elko area don’t impact locals as much as legalizing local marijuana sales would.
“I have heard of marriage lost at a brothel,” Karr said. “But not addictions.”
Marijuana Legal in Nevada?
This article is not intended as advice for your specific matter. Rather, it is a general article about Nevada law. If you have questions about your particular case, please call Mueller, Hinds and Associates, Chtd. immediately at (702) 940-1234. This information is valid as of July 24, 2017.
Is Marijuana Legal in Nevada?
The short answer is “Yes!” This article seeks to clarify the limits of the business of marijuana, as well as its use and possession.
Marijuana is defined in NRS 453.096 as any part of the plant of the genus Cannabis, its seeds, resin, concentrates, and compounds.
The Nevada Constitution provides that medical marijuana can be used under certain circumstances. Section 38 of Article 4 of the Nevada Constitution requires the legislature to provide a law that allows the use of marijuana upon the advice of a physician for the treatment or alleviation of cancer, glaucoma, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, cachexia, chronic or debilitating medical conditions. The protection extends to plants and property but does not permit the use, even the medical use, in public.
The medical use of marijuana is provided for by statute in Chapter 453A of the NRS.
In 2016, the voters in Nevada were asked to vote on the recreational use of marijuana in question 2:
Shall the Nevada Revised Statutes be amended to allow a person, 21 years or older, to purchase, cultivate, possess, or consume a certain amount of marijuana or concentrated marijuana, as well as manufacture, possess, use, transport, purchase, distribute, or sell marijuana paraphernalia; impose a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale sales of marijuana; require the regulation and licensing of marijuana cultivators, testing facilities, distributors, suppliers, and retailers; and provide for certain criminal penalties?
The ballot measure passed with 54.5% of the yes vote and codified the legal possession, taxation and commercial sale of marijuana in Chapter 453D of the NRS.
In short, if you’re 21 years old or older, you can have up to an eighth of an ounce of concentrated marijuana or up to an ounce of marijuana. You can’t sell it, you can’t consume it in public and you can’t drive under the influence of it, but those are the only general limitations. Section 453D.100 of the NRS spell out some limitations – you can’t give it to someone under 21 years of age, bring it to a prison, a grade school, and you still can be fired from your job for testing positive.
Section 435D.110 of the NRS prohibits the prosecution of anyone over 21 years of age for the possession, consumption, processing, and transportation of one ounce or less of marijuana or one eight of one ounce or less of concentrated marijuana. The statute also permits the cultivation of up to 6 marijuana plants for personal use as long as no more than 12 plants are being processed at one time as long as the cultivation takes place within an enclosed area that is locked and only allows persons authorized to enter the area.
The protections that apply to individuals under section 435D.110 of the NRS have been extended to businesses to allow them to provide marijuana for sale under the remaining sections of chapter 435D of the NRS. At the beginning of the Chapter, NRS 453D.020 lays out the findings and declarations which finds that marijuana should be regulated like alcohol so that marijuana can only be purchased from a licensed business, their locations are approved, and the cultivation, manufacture, and testing is strictly controlled.
In order to sell marijuana, a business must submit an application, an application fee, for a property at an appropriate location and be approved by the Department of Taxation.
There are two basic restrictions on the locations of marijuana establishments. A marijuana establishment cannot be one thousand feet from a school or three hundred feet from an existing facility. Furthermore, the number of facilities that can be established in a county depends on the population. For instance, in a county with more than 700,000 people, like Clark County, only 80 licenses can be issued unless the county government requests additional licenses.
The application process for cultivation, production, lab, and retail stores has, for the time being, is closed. For those that are seeking a distribution license, those that already hold a liquor license, are transporting medical marijuana or are already an existing medical marijuana establishment, the application can be found here. The fee for the application is $5,000 and for the distribution license is $15,000.
Currently, there are 50 stores licensed to sell marijuana in the State of Nevada. That includes 42 in Clark County, 7 in Washoe County and 1 in Nye County. The full list can be found here.
Are you accused of violating one of the many marijuana laws? Contact Mueller Hinds & Associates for a free consultation.