In determining the County’s response to Nevada’s medical marijuana legislation, District Attorney Ted Beutel noted at a county commission meeting last month, “If this board would ever contemplate to figure out ways to lawfully regulate the placement of a licensed marijuana disepensary, warehouse or production facility in Eureka County, I would have to respectfully tell all of you I can’t because there’s an actual rule that the D.A.’s Association is currently trying to find the absolute answer to that says in part‘that a lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage or assist in conduct the lawyer knows is criminal.’ Certainly, while the State of Nevada has changed the law regarding the possession, use and production of marijuana, it’s still against the law under the Controlled Substances Act of these United States to do any of those things with marijuana so I wouldn’t be able to help develop that for the County. On the other hand, if you wish to make a statement that ‘not in this backyard,’ I can certainly help you with that; but I just want to caution everybody that it may not prevent or change the fact that the State could license a facility here in this county, at least one.”
Chairman J.J. Goicoechea and Commissioner Ithurralde noted that two counties have already turned it down: Lyon and Storey. Ithurralde said, “They’ve got zoning and we don’t.”
Goicoechea said, “We can still turn it down even though we don’t have zoning; but, what Ted is saying is it may not prevent the eventual licensing of at least one company in the County.”
Ithurralde said, “The local entities may decide not to allow but it says, ‘they shall.’
“If we do go down the road of not to allow it, it would probably come back to a challenge on legislative intent and to see what we could get done and amend language at the next legislative session,” the Chairman said.
Chairman Sharkozy asked if the County could buy a license and then “sit on it forever” and was told by Undersheriff Logan that the initial license costs $30,000 and then $5,000 every year thereafter.
Beutel said to Sharkozy, “I like your thinking outside the box.”
The Chairman said, “Boy, that would make headlines: our county applies for a doobie license.”
Undersheriff Logan noted there needs to be a return to the Legislature for clarification and that if there is a dispensary, all those who hold cards could no longer fill their own supply themselves and would have to go through the dispensary “but it does open up across the board everything you could think of: the cartels, crime, the targeting of the building and everything, because everybody will automatically know what’s in the building so you create a lot more problems.”
District Attorney Beutel said, “One of the main issues, it’s not so much the stealing of the product itself, it’s the fact that these companies are still on a cash economy. They can’t go to the bank because if they go to the bank the United States government has an interest in seizing funds that are the product of an illegal transactions; so they have a real issue with just moving cash because it’s a cash economy and that’s where the large press of criminality comes in. The banking system hasn’t supported because of the same reasons that I am indicating to you that I would have to decline if you wish to create the regulations that allow it.”
Ithurralde said, “You have to comply with federal law. I’m sorry.”
Logan said, “The other side of this is the sheriffs and chiefs for the State of Nevada have also looked at and been discussing this through the Legislative process and then also trying to evaluate and asked to change our language to make reasonable accommodation for safety-sensitive positions across the board. For instance, you cannot make reasonable accommodation for somebody who is sightless to be a pilot. That doesn’t effectively work. Therefore, somebody who is using medical marijuana cannot be the operator of your heavy equipment, cannot be the carrier of a firearm, cannot be all these things.”
“But it says they can, does it not?” said Goicoechea.
“Mr. Chairman, it says the person who is employed, that the employer must make some accommodation.” Beutel said, “Obviously, there’s going to be problems.”
Clark County has apparently tabled the issue for more research.
Ithurralde said, “I’d just like to put it out that we don’t want it here. Some type of some place.” Ithurralde made a motion to deny medical marijuana “in this county and possibly update the prostitution ordinance we have and change it to a prostitution and marijuana ordinance without adding another ordinance.”
Sharkozy seconded the motion. Beutel said it would be in the Health, Safety and Welfare section of the County code.