ELKO – Former Te-Moak Tribal Chairman Felix Ike says he won’t stand in the way of a proposed marijuana dispensary and possible casino on tribal land, but he has many questions.
“I don’t object to it,” Ike said, referring to the legalization of marijuana in Nevada. “It’s law, and we have an opportunity — and if it’s followed correctly — to make some revenue for the tribe.”
Ike explained his position on separate proposals for a marijuana dispensary or a casino to be established on tribal land that was brought before the Elko Band Council Oct. 22.
One of Ike’s concerns was making sure tribal law was upheld.
“Our laws have to be imposed,” Ike said, pointing to a Te-Moak narcotics ordinance written in 1982 prohibiting marijuana, opiates or any other controlled substance to be possessed, manufactured, transported, sold, consumed, used, cultivated or traded within the boundaries of the territorial jurisdiction of the tribe.
If the law allows it, Ike said he would prefer that the colony establish and operate its own marijuana dispensary rather than rely on “an outside entity to come in and do it for us.”
“I don’t see why we can’t do this on our own,” Ike said. “We have our own smoke shop and gas station.”
Talking about the possible casino venture proposed by Jon Goldstein at Sunday’s meeting, Ike pointed to House Resolution 2455 which states “land taken into trust under section 201 shall not be eligible, or considered to have been taken into trust, for class II gaming or class III gaming.”
Ike said some council members were cautious about accepting either the cannabis or the casino ventures and wanted to “receive something from the federal government saying, ‘you can do it or you can’t do it.’”
“I take that position along with them because why continue this if the government is going to come in and close it down, and we would be out of money,” Ike said. “There’s a lot of questions that need to be asked before we can vote ‘yes or no,’” Ike said.
David Decker, Elko Band Council chairman, said if council approved of one or both of the facilities Wednesday night, it would be for medicinal marijuana only until Jan. 1 when the state allows the sale of recreational marijuana.
However the law must be followed, Ike said.
“As long as we don’t violate what the state and federal government is going to initiate and institute to the tribe,” Ike said. “I don’t have a problem with it.”
U.S. Sen. Dean Heller touched on the issues of tax reform, administrative and judicial nominations, health care, and sage-grouse policy during a press call Oct. 25 with reporters from rural newspapers around the state, including the Elko Daily Free Press.
“We have a lot of work to do over here,” said Heller, who explained that he is willing to work through weekends to ensure that hot-button issues are addressed.
Before the call, the senator, a member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, had just finished a meeting with presidential adviser Ivanka Trump and members of Congress to discuss enhancing the tax credit for children of working families. He called it a key piece of the Unified Tax Reform Framework.
“Our goal is to have tax reform out of the U.S. Senate before Thanksgiving,” he said. “I just think tax reform is too important.”
Another issue Heller is prioritizing is the confirmation of the president’s administrative and judicial nominations. In a recent letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell supporting the 24/7 operation of the Senate to “combat Democrat obstruction,” Heller stated:
“As you know, one glaring example of this unprecedented obstruction is the minority party’s pervasion of Senate rules to undercut the confirmation process of the administration’s nominees and judicial appointments.”
Regarding health care, Heller said he wants to give power to the states. “It’s a federalist idea. It’s a 10th Amendment idea,” he said, explaining that competition would improve the system that now favors insurance companies. “Healthcare is the only insurance that you can’t buy over state lines today.”
As the Bureau of Land Management seeks public comment on proposed amendments to its Nevada and California land use plans that address greater sage-grouse conservation, Heller explained the idea is to make sure public lands have multiple uses: “Not to hinder the protection for the sage-grouse itself but to make sure that mining is healthy, that agriculture is healthy.”
One reporter asked Heller how the conservative agenda has moved forward since Donald Trump took office. While acknowledging the setbacks in attempts to reform health care and tax policy, Heller cited the appointment of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court; reduction of Obama-era regulations affecting energy, seniors and small businesses; and a growing economy.
“The results are pretty obvious,” he said. Look at the economy. Look at the growth … . Real changes are going on in America that people are feeling and seeing.”
ELKO – City council members passed a motion Tuesday that is expected to lead to a zoning ban on recreational and medical marijuana establishments within Elko city limits.
City council member John Patrick Rice said he was conservative-minded but that community members needed to be consulted more. Rice also proposed several workshops with PACE Coalition and community members to discuss further the pros and cons of medical marijuana use.
Rice faced rebuttal from council member Mandy Simons, who said the city council members and staff have been discussing every single aspect of the issue, and that further workshops might not help. Council member Reece Keener expressed concerns about the federal legality of marijuana and safety concerns of the drug, despite the market potential and voting margins that Rice presented.
Rice found support for tabling the issue from only council member Robert Schmidtlein, whose response was cautious.
“I’m not in favor of it,” Schmidtlein said of allowing marijuana establishments in the city. “I speak as an employer myself, and allowing these workers to have marijuana would cause greater employer suffering, failed UA tests, and hurt the town’s economy through the mining industry. Everyone in this town is directly related to the mines, and it’s a shame the federal government has made no decision on this matter.”
Chief Ben Reed of the Elko Police Department stated in the public comments section of the meeting his concerns for training his task forces and officers on what they are supposed to do in these types of drug cases.
When asked about the legalities of the Elko Band Council or Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone looking to establish marijuana businesses, Mayor Chris Johnson said, “I have had a brief meeting with the elders about the dispensary at the tribe. I hope the elder leaders at the tribe would vote against it.”
Felix Ike, member of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone and Elko Band, expressed his concerns on the legal matters of this motion and the legal questions that would remain even if the motion is passed to the city’s planning commission. Ike said his questions revolved around loans and how much the tribe would receive; how the tribe would then manage its finances from the endeavor; the state of their sovereignty if they proceed; and the overall transparency of the negotiations for the dispensary by Cannabis Consulting Group and a possible casino operation run by Jon Goldstein.
Spokesman Terra White of Cannabis Consulting Group LLC clarified the group’s nonaffiliation with Goldstein’s proposed marijuana and casino venture. “We are in no way affiliated with the other group,” she said. “We are nonnative. We did not know David was going to use that group for funding.”
White said the editorial in the Wednesday edition of the Elko Daily Free Press further clarifies this distinction regarding the questions surrounding the companies presenting to the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone.
Libertarian Party spokesman Sean Fericks talked on his party’s platform on the issue.
“Our principles of the Libertarian Party are maximum liberty and minimum government,” Fericks said. “We believe in individual liberties, and that the city and county councils are taking away something that they feel is bad for us as citizens. I don’t think that they are wise enough to make those individual decisions. It’s up to the individual to decide what to do with medical marijuana or otherwise, as long as it doesn’t violate the rights of someone else or is not hurting someone else.”
A PACE Coalition representative also presented several court decisions and research based on marijuana cases in Colorado and other drugs for the council to consider.
The city council passed the prohibition to the city planning commission with Rice dissenting. The planning commission will review the plan at its December meeting.
The commission will then hold a public hearing and send the written report they recommend back to the city council for approval for the first reading of the ordinance.
The city currently has a moratorium on medical marijuana establishments, which is set to expire March 25.
Also during the meeting, the city council authorized the Elko Arts and Culture Advisory Board to pursue placing art on NV Energy utility boxes throughout the city. The artwork that will be displayed where will be discussed at the meeting Nov. 1 at 4:30 p.m.
A final order of new business dealt with a proposal by Jordanelle Third Mortgage LLC to develop a 24.97-acre subdivision called Tower Hill. The subdivision would have 73 lots for residential development. This would extend on the hill on Stitzel Road.
This issue is going through the same stages it did four years ago, and the company is starting the process over again. The company has a grading permit issued, and the work would start next spring. The planning commission considered this at its last meeting Sept. 7 and forwarded the recommendation to the council, which passed the motion.
RENO – The Bureau of Land Management received bids on geothermal leases in Nevada that brought in $78,444 in total receipts during an online auction held Oct. 23.
Twenty parcels totaling 38,308.46 acres were offered during the lease sale. Bids were received on 10 parcels, totaling 19,208.66 acres. The parcels were located in Churchill, Elko, Eureka, Esmeralda, Lander, Mineral and Washoe counties.
All parcels sold for $2 an acre. The largest amount received, $20,472, was from Ormat Nevada Inc. for a 5,078-acre parcel in Esmerelda County.
“By providing opportunities for energy development, the BLM is supporting job creation and the economy of local communities,” said Marci Todd, Acting BLM Nevada State Director.
The leases also are in keeping with the administration’s goal of strengthening America’s energy independence, according to a BLM news release.
Geothermal leases are for an initial 10-year period with 50 percent of the funds disbursed to the state, 25 percent disbursed to the county where the lease is located and 25 percent to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
In fiscal year 2016, Nevada received approximately $3.9 million from royalties, rentals and revenues for geothermal leases. Statewide, more than 26,000 jobs are tied to mineral and energy development on BLM-managed public lands. The previous geothermal sale was held Oct. 26, 2016. That sale generated $130,522, selling 14 parcels, covering approximately 32,075 acres.
The next geothermal lease sale for Nevada is scheduled for Oct. 23, 2018.