- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 7, 2017

Lawmakers in Henderson, Nevada — the state’s second largest city — have done away with a moratorium preventing local marijuana dispensaries from selling recreational weed.

The Henderson City Council voted 3-to-2 late Tuesday evening in favor of repealing a months-long moratorium against recreational marijuana sales, paving the way for local pot shops to begin selling retail pot as early as October, according to a city spokesman.

Nevadans voted last November to legalize recreational marijuana and establish a framework for regulating, taxing and selling the plant, but Henderson’s city council moved in Feb. 2017 to implement a six-month moratorium against recreational marijuana sales and voted again in August to extend the ban through Thursday, Sept. 7.

Henderson Mayor Debra March, one of the three councilmembers who voted to repeal the moratorium, suggested it was high time the city heeds the results of last year’s election.

“Marijuana was legalized in Nevada nine months ago by the voters in our state,” she said in a statement following Tuesday’s vote. “It is our responsibility to ensure the industry is regulated to our gold standard of doing business in the city of Henderson. Tonight we took the first steps in approving a process that will work for both residents and businesses.”

“The citizens approved it and we need to recognize that,” added Dan Shaw, another councilmember who voted to repeal the ban. “Kicking the can down the road is not going to solve the issue.”

Local marijuana businesses that previously received state approval can now apply for local permits from Henderson city hall, said Nevada Dispensary Association President Andrew Jolley. That process could take up to a month, Mr. Jolley told the Las Vegas Sun, and retail sales in Henderson could begin in October, city spokesman David Cherry told the city Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Henderson could earn upwards of $1 million in revenue next year through recreational-marijuana taxes and fees and currently stands to collect more than $80 million in related revenue by 2021, economic analyst Jeremy Aguero said at Tuesday’s council meeting, The Sun reported.

Critics aren’t convinced with respect to plant’s potential, however, are Tuesday’s two dissenting votes came courtesy of councilmembers who said Henderson and marijuana don’t mix.

“We are different. We are a premier city,” councilman Dan Stewart said Tuesday, the Review-Journal reported. “I think we can make a bold statement by having no recreational marijuana in our city. … There are too many unintended consequences that we just don’t know about.”

“We’re a premier city, and to me that means we’re family-oriented, and we’ve been listed as one of the safest cities in the country,” councilmen John Marz agreed. “We care about what happens in this city. To turn around and say we endorse recreational marijuana is an oxymoron.”

Recreational marijuana is currently legal in eight states and Washington, D.C., notwithstanding the federal prohibition on pot. Only five of those states currently allow retail sales, however, Nevada included.

Dispensaries in nearby Las Vegas, Nevada’s largest city, have reported selling millions of dollars since beginning retail sales July 1.

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