North Las Vegas didn’t get off to the quickest start in the race to adopt a medical marijuana ordinance, but it’s catching up quick.
City leaders on Wednesday introduced a draft medical marijuana measure set for City Council approval June 18, scheduling a final vote on city pot rules just two months after joining the green rush and only two weeks after their colleagues in Las Vegas.
Officials north of Carey Avenue — working weeks behind their counterparts in Clark County and Las Vegas — borrowed from pot planning and licensing efforts in both jurisdictions to draft the ordinance, essentially copy-and-pasting bans on dispensary drive-thru windows and 24-hour pot shops.
Perhaps more important are the parts they left out, including oft-maligned proposals aimed at creating a pot permit application window and limiting access to medical marijuana edibles, moves that have earned Las Vegas planners an earful at a series of town hall meetings concluded last month.
The end result, said Community Development and Compliance Director Greg Blackburn, is a relatively nimble ordinance that will see North Las Vegas-bound pot entrepreneurs pay less to open their doors more quickly.
“We’re basically going full speed ahead on all non-dispensary facilities,” Blackburn said Tuesday. “As soon as an applicant gets a state certificate, we can get them on the next (City Council) agenda and have them approved within three weeks of a state permit.
“We’re also going to keep the license application process open, so there is not just a 10-day window to sign up.”
Officials are set to charge pot dispensary owners a $60,000 annual fee to operate in the city, some $15,000 less than their counterparts Las Vegas and around two-thirds the cost of a city liquor license.
Medical pot growers and edible producers that move to city “green zones” — lots set aside for pot cultivation and production at the city’s 22,000-acre APEX industrial park — face a maximum $30,000 origination fee on top of a 2 percent fee on gross sales.
Those that opt to locate outside APEX would have to fork over an extra $35,000 in annual fees and up to 8 percent of annual gross sales.
Medical marijuana establishments throughout the city can expect to pay a one-time application fee between $2,500 and $5,000.
Planners will look to confine APEX-bound pot growers to the lower end of that scale, one of a handful of incentives they hope can drive business to the city’s expansive industrial park.
Trouble is, applicants headed for city green zones may want to bring their own warehouse.
“The problem with APEX is there is literally nothing built there,” said Matrix NV, LLC investor and prospective pot grower Evan Marder. “If they had warehouses up there, I would have already signed a deal.”
Non-dispensary medical marijuana establishments will be able to put in for a city planning permit June 23.
The city’s business license office will begin accepting license applications for all medical pot facilities starting on July 7.
City council members have directed staff to forward all qualified medical marijuana dispensary applicants to state regulators, in open defiance of a Clark County directive meant to limit the city to four pot shops.
“I don’t feel I need to comply with what the county has decided,” Mayor John Lee told Blackburn. “In your mind, just think we’re going to have 10 dispensaries.”
Contact James DeHaven at [email protected] or 702-477-3839. Find him on Twitter: @JamesDeHaven.
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