Reno Considers Recreational Marijuana Shop Moratorium

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
Reno may not see recreational pot on its shelves for a while. The Reno City Council on Wednesday will be hearing a proposal for a temporary recreational marijuana establishments moratorium. The moratorium would afford the city time to familiarize itself with state regulations and time to formulate local zoning and licensing requirements, according to city Code Enforcement Manager Alex Woodley.

"From the city's perspective, we have a shared responsibility to err on the side of caution," Woodley said.

Woodley is recommending a six-month moratorium, though the council could revoke or extend the moratorium at any time. The city council is set to hear Woodley's proposal but will not take any action on the matter unless the council decides to do so on a later date.

Carson City, Douglas County and the city of Henderson already have passed similar moratoriums earlier this year. The moratoriums do not affect state law, which as of Jan. 1 allows any person 21 and over to purchase, cultivate, possess, or consume up to an ounce of recreational marijuana or an eighth-ounce of marijuana concentrate.

The Nevada Department of Taxation is aiming to have recreational marijuana on the shelves as part of an early start program beginning July 1, a program that would run under a set of temporary regulations established by the taxation department. By law, permanent regulations must be in place by Jan. 1, 2018.

Regardless if the city council decides to pursue a moratorium, the city will have to figure out details such as the minimum distance that they want recreational marijuana establishments to be from schools, whether they will establish a cap on the number of establishments in certain areas and additional what fees the city will charge them.

"Cities have the authority to oversee time, place and manner, unless the state law comes out and says that these places have to be in this exact zoning. We can be more strict, but we can't be in contradiction," Woodley said.

The city adopted a similar moratorium after the state authorized the opening of medical marijuana establishments in 2013. The moratorium lasted about nine months, giving the city time to sort out local mandates.

Gov. Brian Sandoval's Marijuana Task Force, which is comprised of a variety of government, industry and private citizen stakeholders, simultaneously is creating recommendations for the department's permanent regulations.

Members of the task force also are working with the Nevada Legislature, which has nearly two dozen bills that address recreational marijuana. About nine of those bills could affect local governments, Woodley said. It would be premature for the city to create ordinances without more knowledge of what bills will become law at the end of the 2017 session.

"Keep in mind, when you do these regulations, it takes time. These things can't be done within a month," Woodley said.


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