by NATASHA VITALE
The issue of medical marijuana dispensaries has come up several times since Senate Bill 374 was passed by Nevada in June, but the Reno City Council remains inactive on medical marijuana dispensary applications. At a meeting on Wed., the council ruled in a vote of 6-1 to approve a “stay on the acceptance of land use applications related to medical marijuana establishments”.
“We’re not passing a ban on this, we’re just putting a stay on applications,” Reno Mayor Bob Cashell said. “I bet I’ve had 15 calls from people wanting to apply and do things and we’re putting this off until the state comes with their regulations. We’re not saying we’re banning this or doing anything else. We’re very positive about looking at this.”
The Health Division of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services has to adopt regulations for certifying medical marijuana establishments by April 1, 2014; councilmembers are choosing to wait until then before making any decisions.
Councilmember Jenny Brekhus was the only one who opted to vote against the ordinance, because she felt that the term “stay” was too vague and not properly defined – Brekhus preferred no action to be taken.
Comparatively, the city of Las Vegas has chosen to put a moratorium on the application process, which would expire after a six-month period, leaving the city to decide what action to take. A stay allows an indefinite amount of time of inaction and will allow the city of Reno to return to the issue at the time of their choosing.
“It’s not a prohibition of anything nor an approval, it’s simply us hitting the pause button,” Councilwoman Neoma Jardon said. “And I disagree with Councilmember Brekhus that ‘stay’ is not the right avenue to pursue this.”