Marijuana Dispensaries Oppose Proposed Moratorium on Recreational Cannabis

Local medical marijuana dispensaries testified today at City Hall against a proposed moratorium on recreational marijuana sales.

The city was considering the moratorium to “allow staff to be able to consider policies and legal implications related to the application, licensing and regulation of recreational marijuana,” a move similar to moratoria adopted earlier this year by Henderson, Douglas County and Carson City.

Dispensary representatives vehemently spoke against the idea.

Joe Gilbert, representing Mynt Cannabis, argued that the stay would harm area marijuana businesses.

“(It) doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “The local rules for a recreating marijuana establishments is a non-starter because it has already been decided. It’s a moot point.”

A number of medical marijuana businesses are preparing to ramp up business when recreational marijuana is expected to be approved for sale July 1, 2017. It is currently legal for those 21 and over to possess and use marijuana recreationally, but establishments can’t sell marijuana for recreational use until approved by the Legislature, which is hashing out a number of bills related to marijuana before the session ends in early June.

Alex Woodley
Alex Woodley

The City of Reno’s Alex Woodley gave a presentation about other local governments exploring how recreational marijuana will impact their jurisdictions. He said that the moratorium would not impact the ability of a person, 21 years or older, to purchase, consume or cultivate recreational marijuana as passed by the November ballot initiative.

Nor would it, Woodley added, “interfere with the January 1, 2018 deadline for the (Nevada) Department of Taxation to adopt regulations to carry out the provisions of the act… The moratorium would not go beyond that (date).

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“We’d like to see what the outcome of that (Department of Taxation process) is, as well as the outcome of the Legislature.”

He said the moratorium would help the city avoid contradicting regulations coming down from the state level.

Councilmembers mostly were against the idea and spoke in favor of moving quickly to develop frameworks for potential regulations.

“On election day the voters spoke,” Neoma Jardon said. “And here we are almost six months later asking for a moratorium. I think this adds another layer of confusion.”

Mayor Hillary Schieve tabled the moratorium, and Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus directed city staff to develop regulations and present them back to council on May 10.

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Bob Conrad
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Bob Conrad is co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company. He also works part time for the University of Nevada, Reno.