Pot shops in north Carson City greenlighted by planning commissioners

Carson City Community Development Director Hope Sullivan, left, and Green Thumb Industries representative Will Adler, right, speak at the planning commission meeting Wednesday.

Carson City Community Development Director Hope Sullivan, left, and Green Thumb Industries representative Will Adler, right, speak at the planning commission meeting Wednesday.
Scott Neuffer / Nevada Appeal

The question of whether to allow marijuana retail stores and medical dispensaries along a section of North Carson Street will now head to the Carson City Board of Supervisors.

On Wednesday, in a roll call vote, planning commissioners voted 4-3 to recommend approval of a proposed ordinance that would allow pot retail stores and medical dispensaries along North Carson Street, north of Winnie Lane and west of Hot Springs Road. Commissioners also amended the proposal to set the northern boundary of the location requirements at Medical Parkway and Arrowhead Drive.

Planning commissioners Rick Perry, Teri Preston and Ellen Dechristopher voted against the measure.

“I think this area up here is problematic,” Perry said. “I can’t support it.”

Currently, marijuana stores are allowed in general commercial and general industrial zones along a portion of South Carson Street and the eastern stretch of Highway 50. The applicant, Green Thumb Industries, owns the RISE dispensary in south Carson and has been seeking a location for a second store.

“Currently, several properties have been located, but all of them fall outside of Carson City’s allowable township zoning region for retail cannabis stores,” wrote Rocky Joy of Nevada Commercial Group, which has been trying to find a location for GTI. “To rectify the lack of property, we’d ask the Carson City Planning Commission to allow the changes asked for in GTI’s zoning change request to move forward, as they would open up additional retail properties in the north end of town where the majority of viable retail locations are located to date.”

Strict location requirements for marijuana stores — including separation requirements from schools (1,000 feet) and residential zones (300 feet) — have been in place since 2014. Last year, the Board of Supervisors voted to allow four retail pot shops in the city, matching the number of licenses allowed under state law. They didn’t change location requirements, however. 

Speaking during public comment, resident LeAnn Saarem worried the proposal is too broad.

“This is not what we want for the future of Carson City,” she said.

Resident Richard Nagel cautioned the commission about marijuana in general, pointing to a Tuesday shooting in east Carson that involved four juveniles and illegal marijuana, among other drugs.

“We have not addressed the basic issue of children yet, but want to expand into other areas,” he said.

New commissioner Vern Krahn proposed shortening the new northern boundary to Medical Parkway and Arrowhead Drive. He was worried about compatibility with Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center and other medical facilities in the vicinity. He said he wasn’t opposed to the expansion but felt the zoning “bubble,” as initially proposed, was too large.

Will Adler, representing GTI, said since pot shops became legal in Carson, there have been no robberies or complaints. He said GTI has a track record of being good community operators. The proposed location requirements, he said, would zone pot shops away from “community interaction points where you wouldn’t want to see cannabis.”

Adler also pointed out any specific location request would have to return to the commission for a special use permit. At that time, design standards and separation requirements would be assessed.

In other action:

• Planning commissioners unanimously approved a special use permit request from CSAC Acquisition Inc. for a marijuana cultivation facility at 3535 Arrowhead Drive. The property is zoned general industrial.

According to a staff report, the existing marijuana facility obtained an SUP in 2015, but new ownership requires a new permit. The existing facility has 13 flowering rooms, four vegetation rooms, five drying rooms, nutrient storage areas and a final produce storage and safe room. The facility has 18 employees on site at any given time, and security includes access control, surveillance and alarm systems.

Clint Cates, representing the new owner, told the Appeal that CSAC Acquisition is a subsidiary of Ayr Wellness. He said the parent company holds multiple licenses in Nevada and has 10 facilities in the state, including both dispensaries and production facilities.

According to the Ayr Wellness website, the publicly traded company is based in Miami.

• Planning commissioners elected Teri Preston as commission chair and Sena Loyd as vice chair for the next year. The vote for the leadership positions was unanimous.


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