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County works through marijuana dispensary approval process

Reported by: John Treanor
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Updated: 4/30 2:32 pm

LAS VEGAS — The medical marijuana license applications are in, so what happens next? Clark County is in the middle of reviewing medical marijuana business applications.

Now applicants want to know how will that process work. Clark County commissioners are asking the same question.

There will be public hearings on these applications in June, but they don't exactly know how those hearings will work, or how many businesses will get the green light to apply with the state.

The county has more than 200 applications to go through. Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani says they are still figuring out exactly how to do that.

Hundreds of potential owners sent business license applications to the county, which will vet them, then approve certain business plans and send them to the state. This process will begin with public meetings June 5.

It has yet to be determined how will those public meetings be scheduled and how many dispensaries will get county approval.

"If 209 qualify because of the land use and they have a decent business plan, then why would we restrict it?” Giunchigliani said.

There seems to be a difference of opinion on what role the county should play. Giunchigliani said she wants to approve as many as possible and let the vetting process be left up to the state. However, Commissioner Steve Sisolak wants the responsibility placed on the county’s shoulders. “Only approve as many dispensaries as you'll be allowed to open, maybe a few extras, the state then just says yes or no,” Sisolak said.

Deciding how many businesses to send to the state is hugely important because there is another step. Hopeful owners can apply directly to the state.

State Senator Tick Segerblom says the county stamp of approval means priority in Carson City.

“The reality is if the county picks 10 people that are high quality, send me a couple more,” Segerblom said.

This system, several business owners have told New 3, is confusing.

Two lawyers who represent a number of hopeful owners told us they are worried about potential for bribery or anything else that would help individuals get an edge on the application process.

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