State-county pot dispensary clash could spark lawsuits – Las Vegas Review-Journal

The future dispensaries of Clark County’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry might not be as initially widespread as expected.

The county’s and state’s top picks didn’t match up, and as a result, the unincorporated areas of the county could start out in early 2015 with 10 dispensaries that sell medical marijuana products instead of 18.

The end game for Clark County’s dispensaries still has an uncertain outcome, but this much is certain: both the state and the county have a fundamental disagreement about how the process should have played out. And industry observers privately say lawsuits with high-powered litigators at the helm are highly likely because of the high stakes.

From investments that easily reach six figures comes a chance for entry into an exclusive but lucrative multimillion-dollar industry that could grow if the state ever legalizes recreational use of marijuana, following the leads of Colorado and Washington state.

The county approved special use permits for just 18 dispensaries and not any more beyond that limit during marathon hearings in June that examined 79 applications.

The state, meanwhile, later ranked its top 18 applicants. Only 10 of them gained approval from both the state and the county, which is needed to open for business. Eight applicants have approval from only the county, and another eight only have the state’s approval.

County commissioners will take up dispensary applications again at their zoning meeting Wednesday. A number of scenarios are possible, though the 10 with approval from both the state and the county are safe.

Commissioners could give permits to some or all of the eight dispensaries that the state gave the highest scores to, or decide to stick with only their original choices, which would leave residents with 10 dispensaries.

“Both sides are waiting to see what’s next,” Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said last week.

DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS

Correspondence between county and state …read more