- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 3, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Las Vegas is closing in on a plan for licensing medical marijuana in the city.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on a 28-page licensing plan Wednesday.

A review committee of three councilmembers approved the plan Monday without making any changes.

Several members of that committee expressed concerns with the plan but advanced it to the full council with the understanding that changes would be made Wednesday.

Councilman Frank Hawkins told the Las Vegas Review-Journal (http://bit.ly/1jOK36d) that he’s concerned about the plan’s restrictions on advertising and lack of a way for caretakers to pick up the drug for patients too ill to travel.

The plan includes restrictions on samples, customer reward programs and drive-thru windows. It also bars dispensaries from paying employees with marijuana products.

In May, the council approved zoning regulations for the 12 dispensaries the city is expected to have.

A state law passed last year allows up to 40 medicinal pot dispensaries in Clark County. In addition to the dozen in Las Vegas, Henderson is expected to have five dispensaries; North Las Vegas, four; and Mesquite, one.

Nevada legalized medical marijuana in 2000, but the only way for patients to obtain the drug was to grow it themselves. Last year, state lawmakers approved and Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a law that cleared the way for dispensaries. The licensed dispensaries are expected to open early next year.

Residents and prospective dispensary owners offered suggestions and concerns at Mondays’ meeting, including complaints that security for dispensaries will be steep, expecting to cost about $33,000 a year.

Karen Duddlesten, the city’s business license manager, said the plan already had cut fees by 60 percent.

Annual license fees would be $75,000 for dispensaries, $10,000 for laboratories and $25,000 for edible products facilities. Fees for cultivation facilities would start at $20,000 for a 5,000 square-foot space and jump $10,000 for each additional 5,000 square feet of space.

Several others asked the city to allow for sales 24 hours a day. The plan currently would allow marijuana to be sold between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

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Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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