Fallon pot dispensary: City Council’s ‘no’ vote empowers drug dealers
May 14, 2018
FALLON, Nev. — After the Fallon City Council voted against recreational marijuana sales on May 2, Northern Nevada's only medical marijuana-only dispensary, The Green Cross Farmacy, hopes to repeal the ordinance.
Nathan VanTreese, owner of the 1-year-old dispensary at 510 West Williams Ave. in Fallon, said council members contradicted themselves with the decision. The dispensary serves about 20-30 customers per day as they spend about $80 on products, he said.
Among reasons, VanTreese argues the Council did not want to allow marijuana businesses on Maine Street to attract underage locals, although liquor stores are accessible and display advertising.
He said three businesses on Maine Street are already selling CBD oils — a product made from marijuana excluding THC.
In NRS 435D.210, a marijuana establishment cannot be located within 1,000 feet of school grounds or within 300 feet of a community facility.
"By law, these businesses cannot appeal to children," he said. "We don't display cartoons for advertising, we have specific packaging for our consumers, and we only serve ages 21 and older. I think it's all based on morality and we need to educate the community about the benefits."
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Council members presented three concerns why recreational marijuana should be prohibited in Fallon: it's not federally legal, potential risks and exposure to such as children, and majority of the county voted "no" to legalize recreational cannabis.
Churchill County opposed Question 2 on the 2016 ballot, along with 12 other counties, although the majority of the state favored it. In Churchill County, 59 percent voted against, with 40 percent in favor. In Fallon, the results were 54 percent against to 45 percent in favor.
VanTreese compared dispensaries versus personal cultivation. He said personal cultivation techniques will expose even further to children, and dealers possibly could infuse their product with unsafe chemicals and ingredients.
Currently, personal cultivation laws in Nevada can be no more than 12 plants at a single residence and must be outside 25 miles of a marijuana retail store.
The difference between dispensaries and home-grown pot, he said, is the products are composed in a state laboratory and are sold by experts with intention to assist the needs of the customer. Each product is packaged with an ingredients and percentage list of THC/CBD and terpene levels.
Some of those needs are used to help assist those with anxiety disorders, arthritis, schizophrenia, epilepsy and cancer to relieve pain. According to VanTreese, majority of the Farmacy's products are not smokable.
Without it in Fallon, this would require patients to travel to Carson City or Reno, including seniors, said VanTreese.
"Meth is a huge problem here and opioids is also a huge concern in the state," he said. "With marijuana, there could be effects with learning but people won't be in pain. There hasn't been a proven overdose or death from it."
VanTreese said the Farmacy is no different than the dispensaries in Carson City and Reno; the Farmacy charges 20 percent on taxes, as the city would get 3 percent of it.
"The feds aren't going to walk in here and bust us," he said. "We're not going away. When you say no, you're empowering the drug dealers. We're also helping local law enforcement with our regulations so they can focus on other drug investigations, such as meth."
With five locals currently employed at the Farmacy, VanTreese hopes to bring more jobs to Fallon by hiring at least 20 more positions.
But first, he wants to further connect with the community with educational presentations and tours —as an example, the Churchill Community Coalition toured the dispensary on May 10.
"We want to be partners with the community," VanTreese said. "We're the expertise in this and our mission is to educate, plus support tax dollars for economic boost. We don't want to give it to kids. If you care about the community, you'd want it to flourish."