City of Henderson Narrowly Votes to Approve Recreational Marijuana Regulations
On September 5th Henderson’s city council voted 3-2 to adopt regulations to provide a framework for legal recreational marijuana sales in the city, effectively putting an end to the moratorium the city had put in place. Lost in the coverage of this vote were the concerns raised by the community and the city council as to the impact of legal recreational sales on Nevada’s second largest city.
Before the regular City Council meeting there was a committee meeting to approve or deny items for the agenda where the items could be voted on. It was during this first portion that a report was delivered about the potential impact to the city that included the benefits of potential revenue, data on childhood use remaining about the same as when cannabis is illegal, and DUI statistics which showed an increase in reported marijuana related traffic incidents.
The public was invited to give comment and both sides of the debate were represented. The concerns raised about allowing recreational sales included the fear that it will be easier for children to obtain cannabis, that it might be easy to divert funds because it is an all cash business, and how tax revenue would be paid if these businesses don’t have bank accounts.
Those in support urged the city to take note that allowing medical marijuana sales did not cause great harm or danger to residents in Henderson and that no noticeable change had occurred since cannabis became legal for recreational use earlier in the year. They urged the city council to consider that some of the people who purchase recreational marijuana are medical patients that would lose important benefits if they participated in the state medical marijuana program.
The city council debated. John Marz stated he believed it was too soon and that approving recreational marijuana sales went against the image of a premiere city that Henderson purports to be. Dan Stewart agreed that it was too soon, stating his concern that businesses may have trouble choosing Henderson because potential negative perceptions of the city would keep spouses from wanting to make the move. He believed Henderson would be considered bold for taking a stand against allowing recreational marijuana sales. Both voted against adopting the regulations.
Councilwoman Gerri Schroder asked the Chief of Police to provide data about DUI’s and traffic incidents that involved marijuana since July 1st. She stated that regardless of whether the City of Henderson approved or denied the regulations the city would still have to deal with the impact of recreational marijuana use being legal in the state, that it would still cost the city money to do so. She argued in favor of the regulations because of the revenue that it would offer the city. Councilman Dan Shaw also argued in favor of the regulations stating that the voters had made their choice and had chosen to legalize recreational sales and use. He also addressed Councilman Stewart’s claim that spouses would voice concern about moving to a city that allows legal marijuana purchase by stating that their concerns would likely be centered more on the quality of the schools, which needs to be addressed, than whether or not someone could purchase cannabis. However, in his comments he stated that he will advocate that licensees will need to have bank accounts to be approved for a recreational marijuana business license. These two council members and the mayor voted to approve the regulations.
What is most important to note moving forward:
- Henderson has written into its regulations that there will be absolutely no public consumption lounges or areas reserved for public cannabis consumption in Henderson regardless of whether state legalizes public consumption.
- Recreational marijuana licenses will only be issued to current medical marijuana licensees, with no timeframe given for that to change.
- Banking issues will continue to be a concern that Henderson wants marijuana licensees to address and find a solution for.
- Henderson has voted to approve the regulations that allow for licensing but recreational marijuana sales will not occur any sooner than the dispensaries can be licensed for it.