If an ordinance introduced by the Clark County Commission on March 5 passes, the county could be home to medical marijuana dispensaries by this fall.
With that in mind, hundreds of people packed the Clark County Government Center Wednesday night for a town hall meeting. Attendees discussed everything from user rights to dispensary regulations and price.
Commissioner Lawrence Weekly wanted to gather as much feedback as possible before the ordinance is put to a vote during a zoning meeting on March 19. Commissioners can make changes to the ordinance prior to the scheduled vote.
Cannabis of the medical variety was approved by Nevada voters in 2001, but it was not until last year that lawmakers approved a measure that allows dispensaries of the drug to operate in the state.
"We learned a lot. We know a little bit more than we did, but there are still a whole lot of questions that need to be answered," Weekly said.
State law already places restrictions on where dispensaries can be located. They cannot be located nears schools or parks, for instance.
"We want to make sure we get it right the first time. All eyes are on southern Nevada. You know, when you think of Nevada, particularly Las Vegas, most folks consider us an adult playground where anything goes. Well, in this particular case, there will be rules to be followed," Weekly said.
State law prohibits more than 40 dispensaries from being licensed in Clark County.
Willie Abdallah hopes to open one of those dispensaries. She is particularly concerned about dispensaries being owned and operated by locals.
"At the end of the day, the people that don't live here, they are going to pay all of the taxes and things like that, but then they're going to take their money out of state and go back to where they live," Abdallah said.
While the county mulls the ordinance, the city of Las Vegas is considering whether to extend a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries that is set to expire on March 17. That's something medical marijuana user Raymond Fletcher hopes won't happen.
"Will I have access to my medication? Can I get my medication?" Fletcher asked.
Fletcher pledged to attend every meeting concerning medical marijuana.
"I'm going to put a lot of miles on my wheelchair, but it's worth it. It's worth it for my community," he said.
Weekly said those interested in applying for a dispensary license may be able to do so as early as April.
You can view the proposed county ordinance at www.ClarkCountyNV.gov.
Copyright 2014 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this story.