White Pine County seeks slice of Nevada cannabis industry

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Rural Nevada envisions a new cash crop.

They will first have to override state cannabis regulators.

White Pine County on Tuesday asked the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board to amend state marijuana regulations to allow individual counties to apply for a limited licensing window for businesses seeking to obtain a marijuana business license in the county.

For White Pine, the petition signals a change in tone for the once cannabis-hesitant county. Years after imposing a moratorium on marijuana businesses, the county is now looking to capitalize on the state’s thriving marijuana industry and says the lack of licensed cannabis businesses is hurting the county’s ability to diversify its economy as it attempts to expand beyond traditional rural incomes. currents of agriculture, animal husbandry and mining.

“The lack of cannabis licenses creates direct and tangible harm in White Pine County,” White Pine County Executive Mark Wheable wrote in the petition to council dated Feb. 7.

But the council resisted White Pine’s request and rejected the petition on Tuesday. Compliance Council Chairman Michael Douglas said the council needed to “do its homework on this matter” and left the door open for the county to bring another petition in the future.

Like several other rural counties in Nevada, White Pine imposed a moratorium on cannabis licensing in 2014. This moratorium lasted until the White Pine County Commission in October approved a new order authorizing licensing. to cannabis businesses throughout the county.

But businesses can only apply for the also-needed state cannabis licenses during open application periods, and there hasn’t been such a licensing window for several years. White Pine’s previous moratorium meant no license was ever granted to the county.

Seek to diversify the economy

White pine has long depended on the mining industry, rising and falling with the industry itself. Adding cannabis to the economic portfolio of the county, which is home to about 9,600 residents, will help it move away from that mining addiction, Wheable said at Tuesday’s meeting.

The county has joined the petition with Silver Lion Farms, a hemp farm north of Ely. The county’s petition was specific to cannabis cultivation and production facilities, and included any potential new licenses for dispensaries or salons, which are capped by state law.

Wheable said the county is trying to facilitate new business and presented the petition to help the county diversify its economy. He noted that the additional revenue would also support the county’s tax base. Will Adler, also representing the county at Tuesday’s meeting, said the petition is not just about one license or one company, and that the county would like to see multiple new cannabis companies if possible.

“We were just looking to see how we can improve the lives of our citizens and ensure that we are part of this market and this industry, and that we don’t have a back seat to watch this economy pass us,” said Wheelable.

Missed the ship’s “first sail”

The board was not swayed by the county’s argument.

“The county missed the ship’s first sail,” Douglas, chairman of the board, said.

State regulations allow the board to determine if there are enough cannabis businesses in the state to meet state demand before opening any new licensing application windows, and Douglas said stated that this includes conducting a study or market analysis beforehand to examine how any new cannabis licensing would affect the overall marijuana industry in Nevada.

“We’re not looking for something that just has a county app. It applies statewide as well as how it affects the market. So I think we need to do our homework on this issue.

The state has issued over 700 medical and recreational cannabis licenses, the vast majority of which reside in the state’s major population centers of Clark and Washoe counties. Seven of Nevada’s 17 counties do not have cannabis licenses, according to the Compliance Council’s most recent list of license holders. A marijuana dispensary operates in White Pine’s largest town, Ely, but that business was licensed by the town, not the county.

The council also asked its executive director, Tyler Klimas, to take the matter to the Cannabis Advisory Board, a 12-person commission that discusses cannabis issues and can recommend changes to state regulations to the compliance board. .

Contact Colton Lochhead at [email protected] To follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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