Medical marijuana may have a place in Fernley after all.
After adopting an ordinance several years ago to prohibit medical marijuana establishments in the city, then earlier this year redacting that ordinance, Fernley City Council at their last meeting discussed amending the city’s codes and business license regulations to allow the sale of medical marijuana within the city.
The council heard first readings from city staff of bills that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries and license marijuana cultivation and production facilities, distributors to transport marijuana and independent testing labs to test marijuana within the city.
“We’re only proposing to allow that single medical marijuana establishment. This does not open the door to recreational sales in the city of Fernley,” Planning Director Tim Thompson said. “We’re basically saying you can only do a medical marijuana dispensary here in the city.”
The discussed amendments require any potential dispensary have direct access to Highway 50 or Highway 95A; limit hours of operation to 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. with deliveries allowed between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.; prohibit a drive through; and prohibit consumption on the premises.
The proposed amendments also limit the dispensary’s location to within the city’s commercial corridor. This area runs from Interstate 80 and US 95A south to the intersection of Highway 50A, Farm District Road and Main Street, west on Main Street to Highway 95A and East Street, south on Highway 95A to the intersection of Sage Street and Highway 95A. The amendment also doesn’t allow home-grows within a 25-mile radius of the dispensary.
Nevada statutes require any establishment be located at least 1,000 feet away from a school or at least 300 feet away from a community facility.
“To me, we shouldn’t have a marijuana facility within a half mile of a school,” commissioner Shari Whalen said. “I think that distance should be greater … If you can step out of Fernley Intermediate School and see a medical marijuana dispensary, it’s too close.”
On Oct. 15, 2014, the city council adopted an ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana establishments in the city. In November, voters statewide approved the use of recreational marijuana in the state, and in March the city council redacted the prohibition of medical marijuana establishments in the city.
If the council approves the proposed amendments and a medical marijuana establishment applies to operate in Fernley, the establishment will not require planning commission or city council approval.
“The decision to allow medical marijuana in the city has been made (by repealing the ordinance),” Thompson said. “It is something that doesn’t require additional discretionary review.”
A second public hearing and possible adoption of the bills are set for Sept. 20.
Once the city has regulations in place, the city will notify the state, Thompson said. After a 45-day window, the state will announce it is accepting applications, the state will take applications and will rank them for the city, and the first ranked business will get the provisional license and then can move forward.
Provisional licenses are valid for 18 months, Thompson said, meaning Fernley could soon see a dispensary.
“It could be within a year,” he said. “It could go pretty quick.”
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