Board develops plans for medical pot firms

Medical marijuana captured a lengthy slice of Thursday’s Carson City Board of Supervisors morning meeting, with city staffers being directed to draft an ordinance on zoning and oversight.

No formal action was taken, but the board and staff leaned toward requiring a special-use permit for firms and having the city’s Planning Commission review applications for them as a step prior to any appeal to the governing board if a dispute should arise. Zoning localities under scrutiny included the city’s industrial and commercial areas, though there was some dialogue about buffer zones and how restrictive to be about locations.

City government is beginning the process of drafting an ordinance on zoning, business licensing and other city oversight aspects involving medical marijuana dispensaries, testing labs and cultivation locations. This comes in the aftermath of the 2013 Legislature’s statute on implementing a state constitutional amendment previously approved by voters.

There was some board division regarding whether to require a 300-foot buffer between medical marijuana facilities and residences. Community Development Director Lee Plemel said he took the tenor of board remarks, would do more assessment and would return with an ordinance that includes options for board members to consider.

Much regulatory oversight already is built into state law, but zoning restrictions, licensing and some other aspects are left to jurisdictional discretion. Jurisdictions can opt out and have no facilities, which nearby Lyon County appears to be doing, something that prompted interest here in locating facilities in the east side’s U.S. 50 commercial-industrial corridor so medical marijuana clients can come from there as well as from Carson City.

Several interested parties also testified, among them Rebecca Gasca of Reno’s Pistil and Stigma, who is a medical marijuana advocate, and Mark Turner of Carson City, who is involved in a group planning to start such a business here.

Gasca said security at such firms would be on a par with what gaming companies have and exceed what banks have. Turner advocated that local people be involved in medical marijuana firms, adding controls should be well-crafted and stringent.


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