County begins 3-day marathon on medical marijuana hearings - 8 News NOW

County begins 3-day marathon on medical marijuana hearings

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LAS VEGAS -- The first of three days of public hearings -- that will determine who gets the limited number of medical marijuana licenses in Clark County -- got underway Wednesday. 
 
More than a dozen groups who have applied to open medical pot businesses gave pitches to county leaders in hopes of scoring one of 18 spots available. The public hearings will go on through Friday.

Among those vying to get into the medical marijuana business are local doctors, pharmacists and casino moguls.

The only proposed facility in Laughlin, Nevada would be primarily owned by Randy Black, the former COO of Mesquite Gaming. He tried to clear up some questions on his finances to commissioners.

"I've been here since 1970 and I'm a 92 percent owner of this business. The staff had some questions about some recently paid taxes and I had it certified by my CFO. Unfortunately, they didn't think that was enough. Forty-two million of my taxes are public records and were paid in gaming taxes last year," Black said.

Commissioners say they want transparency.

Each application group is given six minutes to convince commissioners why they should be licensed. Neighbors can also make a protest on an application. Commissioners have three minutes a piece to ask questions.

The commissioners questions include how much Nevada ownership applicants have and what they have done for the community.

"This is a special use permit which means how it fits into the neighborhood. How the neighborhood is going to adapt to this, if neighbors are supportive, or if they have an opposition to it. So it's important that we know that before we make our final decisions," Commissioner Steve Sisolak said.

Commissioners chose to disclose several relationships they have or have had with people applying to run dispensaries. They say they are concerned about the perception that people could be buying votes and they want that information to be public.

The county could decide who gets the 18 available spots as soon as Friday night. Once that happens, the applicants must be approved by the state and that process doesn't start until early August.
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