An effort to open another marijuana dispensary at Sahara and the Strip, the gateway to the City of Las Vegas, is on hold while newly-elected Las Vegas City Councilwoman Olivia Diaz evaluates her options.
“I’m torn,” Diaz said, as a majority of her colleagues agreed to defer to her position on the application in her ward for a dispensary at the World’s Largest Gift Shop, at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue. “I feel like I love the people who are invested in this product. I also love my downtown command and the people who are in gaming.”
Metro Police and gaming industry executives spoke in opposition to the special use permit application. The Nevada Resort Association, represented by attorney Jeff Silver, also opposes the dispensary.
“The Resort Association is trying to protect the integrity of Assembly Bill 533 and affirm the 1,500 foot separation between gaming and recreation and medicinal marijuana,” Silver told the council.
AB 533 is a measure that creates a Cannabis Compliance Board. It also imposes distance requirements between marijuana establishments and casinos. The applicant, CWNevada, is hoping to move its existing recreational license to the new location but has only until November 23 to do so before the law goes into effect.
CWNevada filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, according to court records. The State of Nevada Department of Taxation closed two of its dispensary locations for failure to pay taxes. The company’s financial problems were not addressed by the council.
Councilmembers Stavros Anthony and Cedric Crear stated their opposition to the application for a special use permit, but Mayor Pro Tem Michele Fiore, Councilwoman Victoria Seaman and Councilman Brian Knudsen agreed to follow Diaz’s lead. Mayor Carolyn Goodman did not participate in the item because of a conflict of interest involving her son, who has a stake in the cannabis industry.
“If someone comes to this location they can walk across the street 200 feet,” Silver told council members. “Essence is directly across the street from the proposed location.”
“We are 750 to 800 feet from this location,” Sean Higgins of Golden Entertainment, the operator of the Stratosphere, told the council. “We are vehemently opposed to putting marijuana at the gateway to the city of Las Vegas.”
“The neighborhood behind the Strat is a challenging neighborhood. I invite you to come walk the Naked City,” Higgins said, adding the Stratosphere “ejects people every day because they are smoking marijuana.”