Big bucks needed to start medical pot business - 8 News NOW

Big dollars needed to start medical marijuana business

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LAS VEGAS -- For many budding entrepreneurs, medical marijuana means major money. Right now, hundreds of Nevadans are scrambling to get into the pot business.

However, many already in the industry say most of those hopefuls will never open up shop because getting a license to sell medical marijuana isn't easy.

Just to sell medical pot in Clark County, state law says you need at least $250,000 in capital. That is not all, as many found out during a meeting Tuesday, to move forward with the application process, you also need to have a property ready to purchase and a spotless criminal background.

Christopher McDermott has been working for nearly a year on his application to grow and sell medical pot and products. The effort has not come cheap.

"Those three licenses, it is a minimum of $750,000 in liquid assets," McDermott said.

He has been considering several buildings for his store front, but he is operating on the hope his licensing application will be approved in either Clark County or the city of Las Vegas.

"That is the big gamble. People need to realize, you could spend a lot of money and not get this license," McDermott said.

McDermott will be submitting his application within the next few months to both Clark County and the city of Las Vegas. He will be joined by hundreds of other pot business hopefuls.

Licensing managers at the city say the justice department will not allow many to make the cut.

"They do expect us to have a robust regulatory structure that makes sure we are protecting our community," city business licensing manager Karen Duddlesten said.

People packed Las Vegas city hall Tuesday to offer input on the proposed city medical pot licensing rules.

Mario, who would not give his last name, hopes to operate his own dispensary and says he is ready to pay big bucks to open one in Las Vegas.

"When you have a passion in something, trying to make a difference, it is amazing where you find capital to get people involved," Mario said.

The city officials still have not decided if they will allow medical marijuana to be sold in Las Vegas, but these entrepreneurs, like McDermott, are putting their hopes, dreams and savings accounts on the line in the event city council will take that next step.

Only as many as ten medical pot dispensary licenses could be approved in the city of Las Vegas. The same goes for Clark County.

Other cities in southern Nevada haven't decided what to do yet about medical marijuana sales.

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