First Nevada pot dispensaries rush to get business licenses

Nevada earlier this month issued provisional certificates to the state’s first medical marijuana facilities and now the rush is on for those businesses to fulfill the requirements of local municipalities.

The businesses have 18 months to acquire the needed business licenses, building permits and other city and county authorizations before opening the doors on their production, cultivation, lab testing or dispensary operations.

Once approved by the local jurisdiction, the outfits will receive a state license designating them as a medical marijuana establishment.

“We have numerous meetings planned this month,” says Joey Gilbert, senior vice president for strategy and governmental affairs with The CannaVative Group LLC, one of the applicants. “It’s now up to the municipality. The city, at the end of the day, will work with whoever they want to work with.”

CannaVative is operated by several well-established locals, including Gilbert, a Reno-based lawyer; Ross Kline, CannaVative CEO and CEO of Logistics & Distribution Services Corp. in Reno; Scott Wrye, M.D., the group’s medical director and a Reno plastic surgeon with Hall & Wyre Plastic Surgeons; Tom McKennie, corporate advisor to CannaVative and owner of 15 local McDonald franchises; and Darik Volpa, on the group’s board and owner of Reno’s

MAD Farmaceuticals, a cultivator with operations in Colorado, Oregon and Nevada, is 20 percent owner in the group.

CannaVative applied to operate cultivation and production facilities and a dispensary in Reno and Washoe County and was granted certificates for the former two but not one to operate as a dispensary. (Each application was scored by the state; CannaVative was ranked sixth among dispensary applicants and the top three were awarded certificates.)

The group worked with MariMed Advisors and, both based in Newton, Mass., two consultants that assisted with the applications.

“It’s a very onerous process,” says Robert Fireman, CEO, MariMed Advisors. “It takes hundreds of pages.”

Gilbert says it was a challenge.

“It took tremendous collaboration. It was like applying for a gaming license,” he says. “Without the guidance, we would have been lost.”

The consultants can also help with outreach to local constituents, such as hospitals and physicians, an important task for the new and somewhat controversial industry.

“It’s up to Joey to decide what else we can do to support him,” says Fireman. “We’re just excited that he won. But we need to help everybody because a couple bad actors can hurt everyone.”


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