- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

RENO, Nev. (AP) - The city of Sparks is not following Nevada public records law by not releasing the names of businesses licensed to grow and sell medical marijuana, a Reno newspaper claimed in a lawsuit filed this month.

The Reno Gazette-Journal filed a lawsuit Friday, arguing a compelling public interest in knowing what Sparks business owners are licensed in the medical marijuana industry. The publication is asking for copies of current business licenses for cultivation centers, dispensaries and production facilities in Sparks.

The newspaper “believes transparency in this matter is in the public’s interest,” said Kelly Ann Scott, the executive editor of RGJ Media. “And our legal challenge is based on the belief that transparency in government - especially with the government’s role in the newly formed medical marijuana industry - should prevail because it is the spirit of our state’s public record laws.”

A reporter previously filed a public records request and received documents but with the redacted names, the Reno Gazette-Journal said (https://on.rgj.com/1Fo94q8).

Senior assistant city attorney Doug Thornley said he is maintaining confidentiality for people involved in the industry, which is already granted at the state level. It wouldn’t be proper for cities to disregard that confidentiality, he added.

State law says medical marijuana doctors and patients have confidentiality protection but does not address business owners and licensees. After a second record request came back with redactions, the Gazette-Journal’s attorney made that argument in a letter asking the city to reconsider its policy.

Thornley was unmoved.

“I disagree with your assertion that the law is confusing and ambiguous,” he said in his letter, “but even if I concurred I could not support the position that only well drafted and easily understood laws are worthy of deference.”

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Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, https://www.rgj.com


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