Pot-shop hopefuls prepare for county approval meeting - 8 News NOW

Pot-shop hopefuls prepare for county approval meeting

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LAS VEGAS -- People looking to open a medical marijuana business in Clark County are preparing to give the pitch of their lives.

Starting Wednesday, the 90 pot-shop hopefuls have just minutes to persuade Clark County Commissioners they should get one of the 18 coveted licenses available.

The applicants not only need to be good on paper, but they have to show they're community leaders. They are prepping for three days of hearings. Each group gets just 15 minutes in front of commissioners, who decide who makes this first cut.

From behind the scenes, medical marijuana advocate Jennifer Solas is coaching anxious pot-shop hopefuls.

"There are a lot of nerves, a lot of jitters, a lot of last minute scrambling," said Jennifer Solas with WECAN, which stands for Wellness Education Cannabis Advocates of Nevada.

Many have spent months preparing their application to open a medical pot business, but Solas says it is about more than that.

"Make sure that your team is very strong, made up of a lot of Nevadans,” Solas said.

Solas says commissioners say community service is also crucial to making the county's cut.

"They don't want to hear about security plans. They don't want to hear about everyday stuff. They want to hear about the givebacks. They want to hear about the Nevada residents that are involved," she said.

Commissioner Steve Sisolak has already met with many applicants one on one.

"I know that the applicants are feeling a lot of pressure,” Sisolak said.

But he says it is still up in the air which groups will get approved.

"Somebody could come up with a proposal or idea that is going to really stand out." Sisolak said.

He also says if you don't want a proposed dispensary near you, now is the time to say so. Requests like that, are another way commissioners will make some tough decisions.

“The neighbors will have a chance to participate in this,” the commissioner said.

He says these hearings can be used to explain to county leaders why a proposed medical pot business should, or should not, be near a home, school or church.

All of those opinions factor into the approval process.

"Is it because it's a more secure location? Is it because neighbors don't object to it? Or do object to it, that ones ruled in or out? Those are the sort of things that are important to me," Sisolak said.

While the county is judging all these applicants, the state ultimately has to give its stamp of approval too. Together, both will come up with a list that meets everyone's expectations.

And as the county takes this next step, the city of Las Vegas is also moving forward with its medical marijuana plans. Wednesday, the city council is set to approve all licensing regulations.

During its recommending meeting Monday, the council also discussed putting 10 percent of gross revenue from dispensaries toward cannabis research.

The council is considering a city medical pot database, which would be used to track how Nevada is doing compared to other states.

For more on Wednesday meeting, go to the county's agenda.

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