Grower pitches bringing pot to Douglas |

Grower pitches bringing pot to Douglas

Lobbyist Nick Vander Poel of Capitol Partners conducts a session on legalizing marijuana in Douglas County on Nov. 21 in Gardnerville.
Kurt Hildebrand

While unlikely Douglas County will alter its position on allowing a marijuana dispensary, there is the possibility that the Washoe Tribe could step in.

Two companies are licensed by the state to sell recreational marijuana in Douglas County.

One of them, a legal grower located in Las Vegas, is hoping Douglas County will reverse its longstanding opposition to having a dispensary.

County commissioners opted out of allowing marijuana businesses through their zoning ordinances after recreational marijuana was legalized by voters in 2016.

Lobbyist Nick Vander Poel of Capitol Partners conducted a sparsely attended presentation last week.

He said that seven companies applied to the Department of Taxation for dispensary licenses in Douglas County and two were issued in 2019.

He said he’s working for Green Therapeutics. The other company is Lone Mountain Partners.

One of the counties that previously banned marijuana businesses, Lyon, recently overturned that rule.

The biggest marijuana dispensary in the Silver State is the Nuwu Dispensary owned by the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe.

Vander Poel said that the tribe takes half of the dispensary’s profits and pays no local or state taxes.

Douglas currently receives $80,000 in marijuana revenue from the state. Douglas County doesn’t have a business license fee, which is what many jurisdictions use to raise revenue from marijuana businesses.

“I don’t want to be the one lobbying for that one,” Vander Poel said of a business license.

He did point out the Legislature, which was dominated by Las Vegas Democrats in the last session, is shifting revenue away from rural counties.

Douglas County is one of the biggest recipients of guaranteed tax money from the state, because it doesn’t raise sufficient sales tax revenues to support itself.

That funding comes from counties, like Clark, and was last threatened by legislators in the early 1990s, which is what prompted Douglas to use redevelopment to encourage retail shopping near the Carson-Douglas line.

One thing a Douglas dispensary would do is extend a 25-mile radius where home medical marijuana grows would be prohibited.

Vander Poel said the present radius generated by the Rise store in South Carson ends between Minden and Gardnerville.

A legal marijuana dispensary further south would eliminate legal home grows in the rest of Carson Valley, he said.