Rice seeks support for pot moratorium instead of a ban

Rice seeks support for pot moratorium instead of a ban

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Marijuana Harvest

Marijuana plants with their buds covered in white crystals called trichomes, are a few weeks away from harvest in a “Flower Room.”

ELKO – City Councilman John Patrick Rice is seeking the public’s support in preventing a permanent ban on the sale of marijuana within city limits.

Rice was the lone councilman to vote against an ordinance to ban marijuana sales establishments through the city’s zoning law at the Jan. 9 city council meeting and at an October meeting in which the ordinance was sent to the city planning commission for review. Planners rejected the ban in a 4-3 vote, in part because city code already bans the issuance of a business license to a business that violates federal law.

The city has had a moratorium on businesses that sell medical marijuana since 2014, and it is set to expire in March.

Rice said he will propose extending the current moratorium on medical marijuana at the next city council meeting, along with adding recreational marijuana. Both would expire or need to be renewed in 2022.

In a commentary on today’s Opinion page, Rice explains why he believes a moratorium would be better than a ban. He also presents arguments against the reasons cited by fellow council members who voted for a ban.

Marijuana sales dispensaries have been legal in Nevada since July 2017 but possessing or selling the drug remains illegal under federal law.

The council’s next regular meeting is Jan. 23 at Elko City Hall.

The zoning ordinance must be scheduled for two public hearings before it can become law.

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