I’ve been following two local political issues — the possibility of so-called “pot lounges,” and the proposed Vintage at Kings Canyon housing development on the west side of Carson, partly because Mayor Bob Crowell and city supervisors (with the exception of Lori Bagwell, on marijuana) voted against the will of the people on both issues.
Carson City voters rejected the statewide ballot measure that commercialized “recreational” marijuana but the Board of Supervisors approved the measure anyway, arguing the “rule of law” required us to allow two pot shops to do business in Carson. And now some politicians are campaigning to permit Amsterdam-type “pot lounges” for communities throughout our state. No thanks!
Respected former Supervisor Shelly Aldean fired a warning shot on this issue in an email urging the Supes to reject pot lounges. “I’m writing to encourage you to oppose any attempt to authorize the opening of pot lounges in our city,” she wrote. “It was only a matter of time before attempts would be made to circumvent the will of the people who voted to expressly forbid the public consumption of marijuana.” So far, so good.
Nevertheless, I’m concerned someone will publicly promote pot lounges in Carson City because of potential conflicts of interest (no names, please) on this controversial issue and because a Nevada delegation led by “Marijuana Maharajah” Tick Segerblom just returned from a visit to San Francisco pot lounges. Segerblom, an outgoing state senator who was elected to the Clark County Commission last month, told the Associated Press “he hoped to bring pot lounges to Clark County” as early as next month. “We can start small, but we don’t have to,” he added.
This is worrisome because Governor-elect Steve Sisolak received large campaign donations from the marijuana industry and could be a proponent of pot lounges in all 17 counties, including Carson. Well, I’ve seen Amsterdam pot lounges and I can tell you they wouldn’t make us “Carson Proud.”
“If other municipalities want to venture down this slippery slope and deal with the consequences, so be it,” Aldean wrote, “(but) we’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to rehabilitate our downtown area ... Let’s not place all of this at risk for a few more shekels (dollars).” Her bottom line: Quality of life is more important than money, and I agree.
Another friend of mine, fellow columnist Abby Johnson, recently wrote a hard-hitting column reiterating her opposition to the proposed Vintage at Kings Canyon housing development. “Two years ago the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, over the objections of many neighboring residents, approved Vintage, a planned development (PUD) for the Andersen Ranch property west of Mountain Street and north of Kings Canyon Road,” she wrote. “It was to be a community of active, wine-sipping retirees, aging in place and enjoying the good life, including assisted living.”
Fortunately, that California pipe dream collapsed but new owners of the Andersen Ranch property are back with a heavily amended proposal for most of the remaining open space on the west side of Carson. Johnson noted new property owners “are represented by a (California) finance company that matches projects with developers and investors. In other words, the new developer isn’t really a developer ... the process already seems like ‘bait and switch’ as the owners repeatedly ask the city to approve significant and material changes to the project.” Well said, Abby.
The Planning Commission postponed action on this dubious project Nov. 28. I hope it remains in limbo, where it belongs, because most of us westsiders want to continue to enjoy Andersen Ranch’s natural beauty and unobstructed views.
Guy W. Farmer lives near the Andersen Ranch.