BOULDER CITY — Boulder City council members voted unanimously Tuesday to ban medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits, saying they don’t think the businesses are a good fit for the small town.
The vote makes the city of 15,000 the first in Clark County to bar the establishments.
“I’m very proud that our city is being proactive and setting a positive precedent,” said Myreen Aschenbach, one of the first to speak against dispensaries at the meeting, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The last thing we need is a Venice Beach where somebody can get marijuana if they have a headache.”
Nevada voters approved allowing medical marijuana use and possession in 2000, but the law provided no legal way for patients to obtain the drug except to grow it themselves.
Lawmakers passed a law in 2013 that sets up a framework for distributing medical marijuana, although it allows municipalities to impose moratoriums. Las Vegas has a moratorium on dispensaries that expires in March, and council members there have asked city staff members to further study the possibility of dispensaries. Early this month, Carson City’s Board of Supervisors approved a 180-day moratorium on local zoning, licensing and related oversight issues regarding medical marijuana.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Boulder City Mayor Roger Tobler emphasized patients can still use medical marijuana in Boulder City, even if the new ban means they can’t buy it there.
Nearly a dozen people spoke during the public-comment period, including opponents who said the moratorium would have unintended consequences.
Ed Uehling, who has lived in Boulder City since the 1940s, said the ban might force medical marijuana card holders to drive to Las Vegas for their medication. He predicted car crashes similar to what happened when the town banned alcohol decades ago and residents drove to Las Vegas for their liquor.
“We’re seeing a re-enactment of 17th century America in a 21st century,” he said, according to the Review-Journal.