Undercurrent

Nevada regulators give would-be cannabis dispensaries time to wait out local moratoriums 

By: - October 26, 2021 3:04 pm
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(Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

A handful of cannabis dispensaries that face deadlines to exercise their licenses by February 2022, but have been unable to open because of moratoriums imposed by local governments, will have an extra year to wait out the political climate.

The Cannabis Compliance Board voted unanimously Tuesday to extend final inspections for Essence Henderson, LLC. Essence Tropicana, LLC, Pure Tonic Concentrates, LLC, Green Therapeutics, LLC, and HH Sub One, LLC until Feb. 2023.  

The move is raising the ire of at least one competitor. 

“After what we learned through the court case and recent testimony in the (Lev) Parnas case, hopefully the CCB will pay particular attention to cases where the new license holders are asking for extensions simply because they need the politics to change in order to open,” said David Goldwater, co-owner of Inyo Fine Cannabis.  

Parnas was found guilty of funneling illegal campaign contributions in 2018, including to then-Nevada gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt and Attorney General candidate Wes Duncan, in hopes of securing cannabis licenses.  

Goldwater’s Inyo was among a number of applicants who filed a lawsuit against the state, alleging favoritism and challenging the Dec. 2018 licensing process that granted 61 cannabis licenses to 17 of 127 applicants.  

Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez agreed with the plaintiffs, but said there was no remedy available to applicants who were denied.  

The parent company of Essence Henderson, LLC and Essence Tropicana, LLC, two of the companies requesting extensions Tuesday, won eight licenses in the 2018 round. 

Essence Henderson was granted a conditional license in December 2018 for a location in Carson City, but the city allows “only two retail stores which must be co-located within the same premises of an existing medical marijuana dispensary,” Licensing and Administration Division chief Steve Gilbert told the CCB members.  “There are currently two medical dispensaries and retail stores in the Carson City jurisdiction that have received their final license.”

Attorney Amanda Connor, representing Essence Henderson, LLC, said Carson City “has not taken steps to lift the moratorium and therefore we are not able to begin the process of finalizing this license.” 

Essence Tropicana, LLC, licensed for a dispensary in Henderson, according to Connor, has lobbyists Jay Brown and John Marchiano working with “other conditional retail store licenses” in Henderson “to work with city council to address their concerns and hopefully get the moratorium lifted.”

“The City is not currently working to revise its cannabis ordinance which requires that recreation be co-located with medical,” city spokesman Kathleen Richards said via email.  “There are six businesses that were granted recreation licenses by the state that would need to be co-located with a medical dispensary in order to operate in Henderson.”

Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom, who championed cannabis legalization in Nevada, says the licensees should have more time to wait out the moratoriums. 

“Or be allowed to transfer to another jurisdiction,” he said via text.   

CCB Executive Director Tyler Klimas did not respond to public policy questions of extending licenses granted in jurisdictions with moratoriums. 

Note: This story has been updated with comment from the City of Henderson. 

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Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana has four adult children, two grandsons, three dogs, three cats and a cockatoo named Casper.

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