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Fierce competition to open a medical marijuana business

Reported by: Venise Toussaint
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Updated: 7/25 12:34 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- The list of medical marijuana applicants in Las Vegas is filled with local heavy weights.

Two of the 63 groups originally approved by the city have withdrawn their applications, and only a few of the 61 remaining will make the final cut.

The competition for medical marijuana business licenses is fierce.

Dozens of medical marijuana business applicants rushed through the doors of the Las Vegas Planning Department on Wednesday just before the 3 p.m. deadline.

Hours later the lobby was still packed and applications still being processed.

A total of 61 groups will move forward, and the groups on the list include political and local power players in Nevada; former state Senator and Clark County Commissioner Mark James and former Las Vegas City Councilman and local NAACP president Frank Hawkins are among them.

Also on the list is restaurateur Michael Morton, who owns La Comida restaurant in downtown Las Vegas as well as eateries on the Strip. Local attorney Ed Bernstein and local businessman Paul Andres have also applied for licenses.

"Our group is all Nevada, we're Nevada owned, Nevada operated, Nevada financed," Andres who owns One World Medicine, a primary and an Urgent Care Clinic on South Valley View Boulevard.

He and his business partners are hoping to open Primo Dispensary next door.

"We had to have license surveyors state where the schools and where the residences were and the rest of that and the fact that we're outside of an area that might conflict with that," Andres said.

There were nine cultivation applications, 5 production applicants, and 47 applicants vying for only 12 dispensary licenses.

"Whoever gets these licenses will have invested a huge amount of money; our business plan is about a million dollars by the time you look at the construction of facilities, hiring people," Andres said.

Most of the proposed dispensaries, like Andres’, are clustered in Ward One near South Decatur and Sahara. Many of them are also proposed in Ward Three, which includes downtown Las Vegas and Fremont Street.

The city of Las Vegas will be sending all of the applications to the state for final vetting in a few weeks.

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