County approves 101 applications for medical marijuana developers
By BEN BOTKIN
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Clark County commissioners on Tuesday approved 101 applications from medical marijuana developers seeking to open production, cultivation and laboratory facilities from Laughlin to Las Vegas.
The marathon, seven-hour hearing capped the county’s foray into approving medical marijuana applications for special use permits. They approved 58 permits for cultivation facilities, 38 permits for production facilities and five permits for laboratories for testing the medical marijuana.
The applicants will still need approval from the state. Commissioners earlier this month approved 18 applications for dispensaries in unincorporated Clark County.
Prominent players in the medical marijuana applications include people like Randy Black, a longtime casino executive and businessman who retired last year from Mesquite Gaming, and Las Vegas Sun publisher and editor Brian Greenspun.
Tuesday’s process was a strong contrast to the dispensary phase. Then, there were 79 applicants aiming for one of 18 dispensaries, assuring a greater number of losers than winners.
That meant fewer furrowed brows and a lighter spirit Tuesday as applicants chatted in the hallway, holding maps and waiting their turn to get called before the commission.
Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said that while the pace was quick — a six-minute limit for each presentation — commissioners had often visited individually with the developers and toured their proposed sites.
Marla Wilson, a co-manager of Vegas Valley Growers, has a background in pharmaceutical device sales. The company received cultivation and production permits.
“This is a great alternative for patients,” she said, adding that the option is needed.
Peter Ishak, who moved to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, is with Polaris Wellness Center, a company that’s planning cultivation and production work that includes sodas, brownies and cookies with the medicine, with an eye toward helping patients who cannot smoke.
Polaris Wellness Center, the company, had unsuccessfully made a run for a dispensary permit, though Ishak said they’re not discouraged by the initial rejection.
“There’s going to be other opportunities,” he said.
Black got approval for his company, Clear River, to set up a production and cultivation facility in Laughlin. He had also received approval for a dispensary in Laughlin.
Black said the Laughlin area is under-served and will benefit from the facility.
“It’s a lot of luck and a lot of preparation and a lot of prayers,” said Bob Gronauer Jr., Black’s attorney.
Applicants stressed the security of their operation — in one case employees will be required to wear uniforms without pockets to keep theft down.
Technology was also a big part of the presentation. For example, Redwood Warehouse, a company approved to operate on the west side of Redwood Street near Gary Avenue, plans to use cultivation that relies on natural light as much as possible.
The artificial light will be automatically adjusted based on how much natural light is present, said part-owner Leon Kermani.
The rapid-fire approach to approving the applications doesn’t mean the county’s done talking about medical marijuana. Commissioners plan to discuss related issues at a future meeting — including the issue of outdoor advertising for medical marijuana facilities.
Contact Ben Botkin at email@example.com or 702-405-9781. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1.