City medical pot moratorium on tap soon
January 17, 2014
The Board of Supervisors gave its preliminary blessing to a moratorium on acceptance and processing of applications for medical marijuana establishments in Carson City.
The board, which earlier invited the ordinance that it embraced Thursday, initially sounded wary during discussion about adopting the 180-day delay.
They feared it would mousetrap the city into legal problems from lawsuits. District Attorney Neil Rombardo and others, however, convinced members it was the best course currently to deal with the state's Senate Bill 374 on medical marijuana in communities.
"It has tentacles on it," said Rombardo, speaking of multiple problems that could crop up if the city hurries into establishing its process for handling the matter before state regulations are finished. The target for those, he said, is April 1.
The state law and regulations say medical marijuana should be made available, which emanates from an earlier constitutional amendment, but the city also might eventually decide against it.
Rombardo said state law allows for opting out, but he added that his reading of the "tea leaves" gives him the impression the Legislature will force the issue if too many local jurisdictions spurn the idea. Rombardo in the past has said he personally opposes medical marijuana.
He and Community Development Director Lee Plemel said they weren't delaying and would work on what they can before the state regulations are finalized, but taking official action could be a problem.
Plemel said the 180 days doesn't have to run its course if the city is ready and the board later wants to repeal the moratorium.
City interest under the state law involves zoning, use permits, business licenses and the like.
The board is expected to adopt the moratorium on final reading in two weeks.
If need be, according to the ordinance, the 180-day period also could be extended 60 additional days by resolution.