I-Team: Business Owners Looking to Nevada for Pot Legalization - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Business Owners Looking to Nevada for Pot Legalization

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LAS VEGAS -- Medical marijuana dispensaries are just months away from opening in Las Vegas and already business owners are talking about setting up retail weed stores.

Colorado is one of the latest states to make pot legal. Sarah Overbeck works the counter at the Denver Kush Club. She's handling a whole new customer now. Nobody in Colorado needs a card, permission, or even a reason to buy weed.

"I'm looking to relax and now you can just stop by the pot store at the end of the night. You just go home and relax. A drink, a glass of wine, or a joint, it doesn't really matter. It's kind of the same thing," said Nick Kjolhede, Colorado resident.

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Charlie Brown, a Denver city councilman, was initially opposed to legalizing pot, especially after seeing what happened on April 20, 2013, also known as 420, a day people gather and celebrate smoking pot.

"Last year we let 20 to 40,000 people in Civic Center Park, historic Civic Center Park in downtown Denver, seven acres and they overwhelmed it. There was a big cloud of smoke and there was some shootings. It wasn't a very pretty picture."

Brown did switch his position and is now in favor of legalization after he witnessed marijuana customers and businesses following the law on public smoking.

Nevada voters made medical marijuana legal in 2001 but state regulators say it will still be months before the first medical marijuana business permits get approved. State Senator Tick Segerblom says Nevada voters will get a chance to legalize recreational marijuana in the 2016 election.

"It will be full legalization, with taxes for education. My personal opinion, just like Colorado, just like the state of Washington, that will pass," Segerblom said. Once it's on the ballot, then it's voted in for three years, it is the law. Then the legislature can change it after three years."

Federal agents targeted multiple Las Vegas marijuana dispensaries these past years. But with legalization on the way, commercial real estate agents tell the I-Team, out-of-state dispensary owners are looking to set up shop along Las Vegas' Industrial Road and Charleston Boulevard near Decatur Boulevard.

Metro Police's Chuck Callaway works with state lawmakers to create Nevada's marijuana policy.

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"We look at clustering as a double-edged sword. On one hand, having all those businesses in one location could be beneficial for site checks and for investigation follow-up. But as you know, when you have a certain type of business all in one area, whether it's liquor stores, whether it's strip clubs, it tends to draw certain clientele to that area," Callaway said.

Unlike drinking a yardful of cheap booze, smoking weed openly on the Las Vegas Strip isn't likely to be legalized. If Nevada voter sentiment continues its trend, smoking pot in select hotel rooms or while playing some mellow jams in a basement could be completely legal New Year's Day 2017.

"I just hope we can show people it's not a big deal. It's a new thing, but it's nothing to be scared of, it's nothing to worry about," Kjolhede said.


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