LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Marijuana is big business in Nevada. While the state sorts out a variety of licensing issues, entrepreneurs are planning for the future.

Searchlight, Nevada got its name from the area’s first miners. They needed a searchlight to find gold.

“The mining, since day one, it’s the reason we even became a town,” said Kyle Myers, Searchlight Citizens Advisory Council.

Today, Myers says you’d need a searchlight to find any business. He’s lived in Searchlight his entire life.

“There are 2 Terribles, a Denny’s and McDonald’s. There’s not much for younger or older folks to get a decent paying job”, says Myers.

Ranches have come and gone. Mining has started and stopped, so Myers figured his town needed something new. Instead of mining for minerals, he figured Searchlight could mine for marijuana.

“Doing the cannabis cultivation, I figured would be a good thing. It’s a new industry, it doesn’t seem like it’s going away anytime soon,” added Myers.

Over the summer, Searchlight’s town council passed an ordinance to help develop marijuana farming, essentially saying it’s open for business.

Cannabis Farm
A field of Cannabis, or industrial hemp, growing on a cannabis farm in central Oregon

The main sites being considered for marijuana farms are west of Searchlight, and they include a site across the highway from where former Senator Harry Reid used to live.

“The push is by the ones who are in the know,” said Jay Matos, a marijuana business consultant.

Matos says his clients are looking very closely at growing their product further away from Las Vegas.

“You’re able to move your marijuana grow to a location where you can buy more acres, provide farming and improve the economy in these towns,” added Matos.

While there are some large rural pot farms in Nevada, Matos says the industry needs more. Smaller towns are the opportunity those businesses are looking for.

The momentum towards bringing a pot farm to Searchlight has slowed as the state sorts out licensing issues. It’s also put the brakes on another project in Sandy Valley.

One company is looking closely at Searchlight. Myers says those greenhouses could bring Searchlight the jobs it needs without the searchlight itself.

“For the rural communities especially, that’s where it’s going to flourish.”