Carson City Supervisors restrict marijuana distributors

The Board of Supervisors on Thursday decided not to allow a liquor distributor to use its existing Carson City location to distribute recreational marijuana as of Jan. 1.

Paladin, a marijuana distribution business set up by Kurt Brown, manager and owner of Capitol Beverages, is located on property zoned limited industrial.

In August, the board, after hearing public comment from concerned Carson City residents, decided to keep pot distributors out of limited industrial because the zone often backs up to residential areas.

But, the issue of what to do with the already existing distributor in the zone came up when the board considered the resulting ordinance.

“Do we allow grandfathering a business in?” said Lee Plemel, director, Community Development, referring to Paladin.

Kevin Benson, an attorney with Allison MacKenzie representing Paladin, said the ordinance could be crafted in a number of ways to allow the business to operate and protect nearby residents.

Mayor Bob Crowell asked why the office couldn’t be moved to a location in a general industrial zone where distributors will be allowed.

Stephanie Rice, an attorney with WinterStreet Law Group in Reno, also speaking on behalf of Paladin, said the business had invested money there complying with state regulations on security, which included installing a vault and security cameras.

Sheriff Kenny Furlong spoke in response and said deputies had been to the site during its recent fire inspection and found the security to be poor.

Rice also said Paladin was led to believe it would be allowed to continue working out of there, referring to an email exchange between the state’s Attorney General’s office and Plemel, who said Paladin’s business license would remain valid regardless of the ordinance.

Dan Yu, deputy district attorney, said that email had been followed up with a clarification and that, in any event, business licenses are revokable privileges.

“I do believe this body is on solid ground, legally speaking,” said Yu.

Supervisor Lori Bagwell said the board made it known where it stood on the issue.

“When Mr. Brown came to the (August) meeting was it not clear that this board said that marijuana businesses would only be in general commercial and general industrial?” said Bagwell. “I think our language was clear.”

The board decided Paladin’s temporary business license will expire on Jan. 1, when retail marijuana outlets are allowed to start operating.

The supervisors were scheduled to vote on a developers agreement between the city and the Lompa Ranch developer, but the item was pulled from the agenda for a second time as school district officials and the developer continue to hammer out details on a 10-acre site for a new school.

The supervisors, convened as the Board of Health, heard an update on Health and Human Services work to revamp the restaurant inspection process and on its efforts to address the opioid epidemic in Carson City.

The health department is working on adding a grading system for restaurants that will be displayed on placards in establishments’ windows.

The department plans to have a public meeting on Oct. 30 to go over all the changes and get industry feedback.

The department received a $32,900 grant from the state, which it has used to work with more than 20 physicians and to educate pharmacists on steps they can take to combat opioid abuse, including the use of Narcan to counteract opioid overdoses.

In 2015, 12 people died from opioid overdose in Carson City.


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