Moratorium raised on recreational pot in Henderson; sales might start in October

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L.E. Baskow Cannabis is packaged at The Source dispensary facility freshly opened in Henderson, many edible marijuana items are also readily available there too on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017|8:30 p.m.

Pot consumers in Henderson will soon be able to lawfully purchase the plant for recreational use after the Henderson City Council voted Tuesday to end a moratorium that had actually been in location given that February.

The council voted 3-to-2, with Mayor Debra March, Councilwoman Gerri Schroder and Councilman Dan Shaw ballot in favor of reversing the moratorium and Councilmen John Marz and Dan Stewart voting against the step. The vote set a course for five dispensaries in Henderson along with over a dozen combined growing, testing and production centers to start running in the leisure market.

“The citizens authorized it and we have to acknowledge that,” Shaw said. “Kicking the can down the road is not going to fix the concern.”

Licensed cannabis facilities with a state-issued “early start” permit to start leisure sales on July 1 need to now get a regional license and business license, said Nevada Dispensary Association President Andrew Jolley, who likewise owns The+Source dispensary in Henderson.

The whole procedure is expected to take about a month, Jolley stated, including that Henderson dispensaries will begin offering the plant as early as October and no later than December.

“It’s only fair you enable retail sales because jurisdiction,” Jolley said. “There are huge societal and economic benefits in terms of developing jobs and tax profits and eliminating from illegal black market sales.”

Also present at Tuesday’s conference, Armen Yemenidjian of Essence Cannabis Dispensary stated the vote to open recreational sales made doing marijuana business in Henderson worth the expenses that owners are putting into the plant.

Yemenidjian said pot shops in Nevada “recover cost or lose cash” under the medical-only model, while legalized leisure sales make a profit. He argued that if Nevada remained a medical-only state, majority of the state’s 60 operating pot stores would already be closed.

“It’s the difference in between a service that loses cash and a business that has the ability to have a profit margin,” he stated.

Presenting before the vote, financial expert Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis said city taxes and costs for recreational pot services would bring Henderson $1 million in public revenue for fiscal year 2018 and over $5 million each year by 2021. Total marijuana sales income in Henderson is expected to reach $10 million next year and exceed $80 million by 2021 Aguero said.

All 5 dispensary owners in Henderson control dispensaries in other cities where recreational pot sales are legal, suggesting Jolley, Yemenidjian, Randy Black of Nevada Medical Marijuana, David Rosen of Jenny’s Dispensary and Steve Menzies of The Dispensary “should not have too many problems” with the logistics of beginning leisure sales in Henderson, Jolley said.

Jolley stated the dispensary association would seek guidance from the Nevada Department of Taxation on whether the existing medical cannabis supply at Henderson centers would be valid for sale as leisure item when such sales start. The department enabled Nevada dispensaries in cities where leisure sales started on July 1 to sell their medicinal item as leisure product as lawsuits tied up deliveries of the leisure item from cultivation and production facilities to dispensaries.

While a growing variety of circulation licenses have actually been provided given that July 1, Jolley said he hoped the taxation department would enable the exact same preliminary leniency for Henderson dispensaries through their very first weeks of sales as other Nevada dispensaries.

“We’ve increase a lot in the previous 2 or 3 months and we’re ready to open in Henderson,” he stated.

The city board on Feb. 7 elected a six-month moratorium that would have ended last month, after initially considering a yearlong moratorium as early as January. They voted to expand the moratorium to this month before it was quashed with Tuesday’s vote. Medical marijuana was not prohibited in the moratorium.

Nevada legalized up to one ounce of marijuana flower or one-eighth ounce of the THC equivalent of concentrates for recreational use and possession on Jan. 1 following the passage of last November’s Tally Question 2. Recreational sales of the plant started on July 1 after momentary guidelines from the Nevada Department of Tax and Nevada Legislature were approved earlier this year.

Long-term regulations, as required by the original start date for leisure cannabis sales per Tally Questions 2, do not happen up until Jan. 1.

Voting in opposition to Tuesday’s procedure, Marz called Henderson a “leading city” and stated leisure cannabis threatens that difference. While Marz voted in favor of lifting a moratorium on medical cannabis in 2015, he argued the city was “jumping into by doing this too early.”

“The jury’s still not out yet,” Marz stated after jokingly threatening a 10-hour filibuster on the vote. “We ought to have waited to see exactly what occurred in other cities and states.”

Editor’s note: Brian Greenspun, the CEO, publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun, has an ownership interest in Essence Marijuana Dispensary.

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