City ordinances would open door for medical marijuana dispensary

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Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

The Fernley City Council is scheduled to consider a pair of ordinances that would pave the way for a medical marijuana dispensary in the city.

The first ordinance would amend the city’s business license regulations by adding a chapter to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to sell marijuana or marijuana infused products, license marijuana cultivation and production facilities and independent testing laboratories.

The second establishes the zoning requirements and other requirements that would govern such a facility.

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The council earlier this year rescinded an ordinance it passed two years ago to prohibit medical marijuana establishments in the city. Sheriff Al McNeil has advocated the licensing of medical marijuana facilities, because that would prohibit home grows within 25 miles of the dispensary.

Planning Director Tim Thompson told the council the language in the proposed zoning amendment was taken from the city of Sparks.

The ordinance would require that a dispensary be located only in the commercial district and have direct access to either U.S. 50 or U.S. 95A, limiting it to well-traveled, well-lit and highly visible locations. That would allow a facility only on 95A between Sage St. and Main St., on Main St. between 95A and the roundabout, or on East Main St. between the roundabout and Interstate 80. An exception would allow a dispensary to be located on Newlands Drive or Chisholm Trail within 750 feet of Main St.

Other state regulations require a facility to be at least 1,000 from a school and 300 feet from any other community facility, such as a church.

The ordinance would limit hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and deliveries from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

No drive throughs will be allowed, and many other security measures are required, including an alarm system that allows the sheriff’s office to remotely access cameras to gauge its response to an alarm.

The council will hear the two ordinances as second readings at Wednesdays meeting, where they can be adopted, rejected or amended.

If the city approves the regulations, Thompson said, the city would notify the state. After 45 days, the state would begin accepting applications and rank them for the city. Only current license holders in good standing with the state would be eligible to apply, he said.

City manager Daphne Hooper said if the ordinances are approved, staff would bring proposals to the council to consider the specific application fees.

The ordinances would also only allow medical marijuana facilities, not recreational marijuana.

Thompson said the state Department of Taxation is in the process of setting regulations for recreational marijuana facilities. Currently, the Department of Taxation has interim regulations in place, but he said the city wants to wait until permanent regulations are established by the state before proceeding with allowing a recreational marijuana dispensary.

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