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Cannabis consumption lounges get major setback after county commission vote

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A three-to-two vote yesterday by the Washoe Board of County Commissioners effectively killed the possibility of cannabis consumption lounges in the county.

The Venue at SoL Cannabis was the only lounge up for consideration in Washoe County out of 40 provisionally approved by Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board in November

“SoL has to have a local license issued before the provisional State license can be issued as a permanent license,” said Washoe County spokesperson Bethany Drysdale. “Since the BCC did not approve the necessary code amendments to enable the issuance of a local license, they cannot open a lounge. 

“Unless staff receives direction from the Manager’s Office / Board to revisit the issue, we will not be bringing back code amendments for consumption lounges,” she added.

SoL’s Ed Alexander said there was confusion over what was being approved and that he hopes the denial is reconsidered.

“There was massive confusion over what they were approving,” he said.

The county planning commission previously denied code changes that would have allowed cannabis lounges, and the commission vote yesterday upheld that denial. 

The county attorney called the agenda item complicated.

“If you uphold the denial … that’s it. This item goes forward together or not at all,” Deputy District Attorney Nate Edwards said.

State law allows for consumption lounges, but local governments have to develop regulations for those lounges. Reno is proceeding with its own regulations, but no Reno-based dispensaries have been approved by the state to operate lounges.  

SoL Cannabis was singled out in September 2022 by Washoe Valley residents who said allowing the business to open a consumption lounge would make the valley’s roads more dangerous. People spoke against the lounge at Tuesday’s meeting for the same reason.

Commissioners Mariluz Garcia and Alexis Hill voted to overturn the planning commission’s decision.

More commission actions

Provided by Washoe County and edited by This Is Reno.

Board ratifies State of Emergency for the weather: A State of Emergency was declared earlier this month for the series of winter storms that hit northern Nevada in rapid succession over the New Year holiday. The declaration was written to expire on Feb. 6, 2023, but terminates immediately if not approved by the Board of County Commissioners. The Board unanimously approved the declaration.

Board accepts grant to restore historic Galena Creek schoolhouse: The Nevada Commission for Cultural Centers and Historic Preservation granted $345,000 to Washoe County to begin restoration of the historic Galena Creek schoolhouse located in Phillip & Annie Callahan Park. The grant requires a $10,000 match from Washoe County.

Washoe County purchased the schoolhouse property for $600,000 in 2006, and the schoolhouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. The restoration will complete design and construction plans, permitting, environmental testing, pest control, structural stabilization and retrofitting, and interior and exterior restoration. More funding will be sought for additional work.

Commissioner Jeanne Herman allocates funds to non-profit and governmental organizations

  • $20,000 to Safe Embrace to support the organization’s efforts to provide compassionate and trauma-informed services to individuals suffering from domestic abuse, sexual violence or human trafficking
  • $10,000 to the Vya Conservation District to support natural resource conservation
  • $10,000 to the Washoe-Storey Conservation District to foster environmental stewardship
  • $10,000 to the Reno Air Racing Association 
  • $5,000 to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada 
  • $2,500 to Our Story, Inc. for the purpose of benefiting the Northern Nevada African American Firefighter Museum
  • $2,500 to the Adopt A Vet Dental Program to provide free critical and life-saving dental care to impoverished veterans
  • $2,500 to the Washoe County Human Services Agency for the purpose of supporting the Men’s CrossRoads program
  • $2,500 to the Veterans Upward Bound Program
  • $2,500 to The Salvation Army 
  • $2,500 to the Veterans Guest House 
  • $2,000 to the Center for Healthy Aging

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Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR.

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