Changes and clarifications to the language in county ordinance 2014-03 regarding the prohibition of medical marijuana establishments as a matter of land use throughout the unincorporated areas in Lincoln County will be discussed at a public hearing January 16 at 10 a.m. at the courthouse in Pioche.
The decision was made after commissioners at the regular board meeting on Monday heard a presentation from Todd Davis of Pueblo, Colorado, representing Caliente Development Company, LLC, on the benefits of having a recreational and medical marijuana farm within Lincoln County. Davis said he would like to see a facility started a few miles south of Caliente in Rainbow Canyon.
This comes on the heels of the city of Caliente voting 3-2 last week to move forward with investigating how the city should proceed with regulation, licensing, and zoning of marijuana-related businesses within the city limits. City Attorney Dylan Frehner had pointed out the city currently had nothing in the codes authorizing the licensing, cultivation, or dispensing of marijuana.
What decisions the Caliente City Council makes is not affected by the county ordinance.
District Attorney Daniel Hooge said anyone seeking a license as a recreational marijuana grower or dispensary, “has to go through Nevada Revised Statute 453 which specifically says they have to go through the same process that medical marijuana establishments have to follow.”
The state of Nevada legalized marijuana use in 2016 but said it was up to each county as to whether or not to permit cultivation and dispensing in the county. Lincoln County created an ordinance saying no.
Hooge said, “If you have an ordinance that says you do not allow medical marijuana but does not address recreational marijuana, it would not apply to the person making the request for recreational marijuana.”
He recommended the county “go one way or the other” with the language, allow some or none at all. “Just to zone out medical marijuana but not recreational marijuana is going to cause all problems.”
He said the need for the “all or nothing” approach is because it can’t be definitively shown that a grower would sell only to medical or only to recreational users.
He felt otherwise someone is going to challenge the ordinance without making the language changes. “It would be a mess for the county.”
Commissioner Kevin Phillips moved the ordinance be changed to drop any reference to medical or recreational marijuana. The motion was approved.
Commissioner Jared Brackenbury, a Caliente resident, abstained as he disclosed he is in the process of selling a portion of his property for marijuana growing.
In a related agenda item, commissioners took no action on approving or denying the request for a cultivation and production license by Caliente Development Company, LLC. The item died for lack of a motion.