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Jackpot marijuana dispensary gets OK to begin sales

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Thrive Cannabis Marketplace

A rendering of the new Thrive Cannabis Marketplace in Jackpot, Nevada.

ELKO – A marijuana dispensary has been cleared to open in the Nevada-Idaho border town of Jackpot.

The business could open by Monday, Thrive Cannabis Marketplace representative Dave Brown told Elko County commissioners on Wednesday.

Commissioners unanimously approved a license for the business after Undersheriff Justin Ames reported Thrive had passed background checks.

Ames said the investigation was similar to what would be done for someone applying to enter law enforcement.

“We have no issues moving forward with the license,” he said.

Undersheriff Justin Ames says Thrive Cannabis has passed background checks

According to Brown, Thrive interviewed nearly 60 candidates to work in the dispensary, giving preference to Elko and Jackpot residents.

Thirty-five people were hired and were being paid as of Sept. 8. Sixty percent of them are Jackpot residents – including the manager of the facility, Brown said.

The company had been shooting for a mid-September opening of the $1.4 million dispensary. The nearest city is Twin Falls, Idaho, about 45 miles north of the border.

“We look forward to being a successful and safe business in Jackpot,” Brown told Elko commissioners, thanking them and county staff for working with the company.

Thrive marketing director John Erminio earlier told the Twin Falls Times-News that the store will be open 24/7, 365 days a year. Shoppers will be able to come inside the store or use a drive-through option. A range of products will be available including vapes, concentrate and edibles.

Thrive Cannabis representative Dave Brown speaks to Elko commissioners

Establishment of marijuana sales in the unincorporated town faced an uphill battle as county commissioners originally opposed Nevada’s ballot question legalizing marijuana.

Commissioner Rex Steninger was the first to embrace the idea back in 2016, saying “I know people that use marijuana and they are normally functioning members of our society. It is a shame that they need to deal with the black market and risk the wrath of the law.”

In 2017, the board voted 3-2 to ban growing, dispensing and producing marijuana, with Commissioner Jon Karr joining Steninger in opposition.

They changed course last year after the coronavirus pandemic left Jackpot’s casino-tourism economy in tatters. Commission Chairman Demar Dahl was the only opponent at that time.

Opposition to the dispensary continued from the Idaho side of the line, where marijuana is still outlawed.

Twin Falls County commissioners expressed concerns about road safety in the region, particularly on U.S. Highway 93.

Erminio said safety and abiding by laws are important to the company.

“We want it to be safe, and obviously using and driving is against the law and something that we are not behind,” he said.

Law enforcement agencies expect to increase patrols in the area once the dispensary opens.

“Anyone engaging in illegal behavior should be aware they risk attracting attention from law enforcement,” Idaho State Police said in a statement.

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