With the clock ticking on Douglas County’s temporary medical marijuana establishment ban, commissioners decided to opt out of the process.
Most of the county’s formal communities indicated they didn’t want a dispensary or other medical marijuana establishment in their neighborhoods, Assistant District Attorney Cynthea Gregory said Thursday.
The Gardnerville Ranchos, the county’s largest community, voted 5-0 in favor of not allowing medical marijuana businesses in the county.
A poll conducted by the chamber of commerce split down the middle.
While legal under the Nevada Constitution, medical marijuana is considered a controlled substance by the federal government.
Gregory said that the number of medical marijuana cards issued have increased in Douglas County from 110 in December to 151 in June. Statewide the numbers have gone up from 4,797 to 6,328 in the same timeframe.
Commissioner Nancy McDermid said she wouldn’t want anyone to suffer because they couldn’t obtain medical marijuana.
“But if you need radiation treatments, you can’t get them in Douglas County,” she said. “There are ways for individuals who needs medical marijuana to get it.”
Commissioner Barry Penzel said he was opposed to having a medical marijuana establishment in the county, calling marijuana a gateway drug.
“There is no economic value, no moral value or moral necessity in having it Douglas County,” he said.
Commissioner Greg Lynn said he felt medical marijuana was really a gateway to the legalization of recreational use.
“I don’t believe it is a wonder drug, but I also don’t think having an establishment in Douglas County is going to start refer madness,” he said. “I don’t think it is in step with our community values.”
Commission Chairman Doug Johnson, who is also on the Nevada Association of Counties board said the law will probably be revisited in the next legislative session.
“It may not be legal after the session,” he said. “Whatever happens I think we should cut bait and go ahead and opt out.”
About 20 representatives of the Partnership of Community Resources, many wearing T-shirts in support of opting out attended the meeting.
Speaking for the group, Partnership Director Cheryl Bricker agreed with commissioners’ position, as did Juvenile Probation Office Director Scott Schick and Sheriff Ron Pierini.
Carson High School teacher Phillip Grady spoke in favor of medical marijuana establishments saying his son suffers seizures that might be helped by marijuana.
Commissioners directed Gregory to prepare an ordinance opting the county out of medical marijuana establishments.
Under state law, Douglas residents will be able to continue growing their own medical marijuana, and may go to other counties to purchase it or have it delivered.
Nevadans approved adding medical marijuana to the state constitution in 2001, but the Legislature never provided a means for people with cards to legally obtain seeds.
The new law expanded the number of plants a single cardholder may have to 12.