- Associated Press - Sunday, January 31, 2016

ELKO, Nev. (AP) - Elko is extending its ban on medical marijuana shops despite comments from residents who want it lifted.

The Elko Daily Free Press reports (https://bit.ly/1JSBrzl) the only councilmember to vote no on the ban noted that about 60 percent of Elko voters cast ballots in favor of Nevada’s medical marijuana initiative.

Councilman John Patrick Rice said the city is depriving itself of revenue and keeping a service from residents.

“There will be a great sucking sound of our money going somewhere else than our county if we don’t take advantage of this,” Rice said.

“We have a tremendous opportunity here to improve the quality of life for so many people in our community,” he said.

Councilwoman Mandy Simons was among the four in favor of the ban and noted that cannabis possession is still illegal under federal law.

Mother Jackie Melton spoke at the meeting in favor of medical marijuana shops in Elko. She said her daughter is autistic and often waves her arms and pulls her hair.

A company that ships the drug to Elko charges $300.

“It is extremely difficult to get her in the car and go to Reno,” Melton said. “. I don’t need it to be that hard.”

Cannabis Consulting Group LLC owner Josh White took issue with the resolution language that states the ban is intended to give officials time to study impacts of marijuana on establishments and morals.

“City and county leaders that promote 24-hour prostitution, 24-hour gambling and 24-hour alcohol consumption, 365 days a year, do not have the moral compass to compare and (issue) judgment on medical necessities such as medical marijuana,” White said.

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Information from: Elko Daily Free Press, https://www.elkodaily.com

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