Nevada residents might want to hold off a second before celebrating the state’s brand new marijuana legalization. Those who reside in Henderson, the state’s second largest city, may have to wait at least a year to do any commercial activity related to recreational cannabis.
The conflict demonstrates the tensions between state and local authorities in all states with legalized forms of marijuana. Many cities in California, for example, are trying to impose bans and strict regulations on cannabis to dam themselves off from the effects of legalization when it’s enacted in 2018.
Nevada’s state ballot Question 2 passed in November, legalizing recreational use for those 21 and over, though retail sale won’t begin in the state for several months. The City Council of Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas with a population of roughly 300,000, is not so sure how it wants to handle this legalization and so has proposed a one year moratorium on the sale of recreational marijuana while they figure it out.
“We want to make sure that these businesses are not next to schools or day cares,” Councilwoman Gerri Schroder told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “We are also waiting to see what the Legislature will do. Having this amount of time to plan everything will allow us to get our ducks in a row, so to speak.”
The council is expected to speak on the proposal at a January 17 meeting and vote on it come February 7. A shorter temporary ban of six months is also on the table. Even as Henderson’s administration struggles to figure out the future of marijuana in their city, possession by residents 21 and over will remain unaffected. It is only the cultivation, production, manufacturing, testing, transportation, and sale of recreational cannabis that will be forbidden.
Armen Yemenidjian, CEO of Essence Cannabis Dispensary, says that indecision from the council will only take money away from the city while forcing the city’s residents to take their business elsewhere.
“The moratorium will allow Henderson residents the inconvenience of driving an extra mile or two to the next nearby dispensary that offers recreational cannabis,” he said. “Henderson could potentially lose out on a tremendous amount of tax dollars. All it’s doing is shifting consumer behavior in tax dollars from the city of Henderson to unincorporated Clark County or Las Vegas.”
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