Mesquite passes med pot ordinances, Arizona cardholders may benefit

MESQUITE, Nevada – More than 100 community members filled the Mesquite City Hall Council Chambers Tuesday evening for a public hearing on two proposed ordinances relating to the cultivation, testing and dispensing of medical marijuana within Mesquite city limits. Bills 484 and 485 were passed 4 to 1 by the Mesquite City Council, enabling a medical marijuana dispensary to become a reality in Mesquite.

“There were good debates there, and a lot of people either voiced their concern or their praise or their questions,” Tracy Beck, deputy city clerk for the City of Mesquite, said.

The entirety of Tuesday night’s public meeting was devoted to the medical marijuana issue, Beck said. During the meeting, which lasted approximately three hours, citizens had three opportunities to voice their opinions and give feedback on the proposed ordinances – both before the final vote took place and during a comments forum afterward.

“Everybody got a chance to speak, pro or con,” Beck said. “And our council, you know, did a lot of their homework, did a lot of research on their own.”

Though the ordinances have now been approved, it won’t mean instant medical marijuana availability for residents of Mesquite and the surrounding areas.

Medical marijuana use has been legal in Nevada since 2000 for individuals with certain medical conditions who hold state-issued medical marijuana cards, but Nevada only approved its new dispensary program in 2013. The state’s first medical marijuana dispensaries won’t likely open until late 2014 or early 2015, and any companies desiring to establish a dispensary in Mesquite will first have to become certified through the state’s Medical Marijuana Establishments Program and then get local business licensure.

“You have to apply to the state first. Once they approve you, then it comes here to the city and you apply for the necessary permits and licenses,” Beck said.

In a previous interview with St. George News, Mesquite Mayor Allan Litman said the state’s current law will only allow one medical marijuana grow facility and one dispensary facility to take up residence in Mesquite. At least two vendors have already expressed interest in opening medical marijuana facilities in Mesquite, Gaye Stockman, of Mesquite Regional Business Inc., said during a presentation at a Mesquite town hall meeting on July 29.

Read more: Former Romney official supports Mesquite medical marijuana bills; town hall meeting

Arguments against Mesquite’s marijuana ordinances have been many and varied, including concerns that recreational marijuana use will be the next thing to receive approval if medical marijuana takes hold in the area. Since the State of Nevada has allowed cities and municipalities to make their own decisions regarding medical marijuana dispensaries, Beck said the city anticipates similar guidelines will be put in place if Nevada approves recreational marijuana use.

“We have to wait for the state to make their move,” Beck said.

“There were members of the council that were strong, that said, ‘no, we won’t bring (recreational marijuana) here,'” she added, “but we don’t know how that will play out.”

Arguments in favor of the medical marijuana ordinances have revolved around the potential boost to Mesquite’s economy if a cultivation and dispensary business opens up, and also the benefit for local medical marijuana cardholders if a nearby dispensary is available to them. Only between 40-50 cardholders live in Mesquite, Beck said, but a Mesquite dispensary could also service cardholders in surrounding communities like Bunkerville, Moapa and Logandale.

“It’s easier to make that 30-mile trip as opposed to the 75-mile trip to north Vegas,” she said.

A dispensary in Mesquite would also mean easier access for medical marijuana users in nearby Arizona communities like Littlefield and Beaver Dam, where medical marijuana use is also legal.

“We are planning a reciprocity program,” Pam Graber, education and information officer for Nevada’s Medical Marijuana Establishment Program, said.

A reciprocity program will mean those holding valid medical marijuana cards issued by other states will be able to make purchases at Nevada dispensaries.

Utah residents will not be able to purchase medical marijuana in Mesquite, since medical marijuana is not legal in Utah and, therefore, Utah residents cannot obtain valid medical marijuana cards.

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  • Hogger August 9, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Outlaw alcohol and legalize recreational use of marijuana. End drunk driving fatalities and outlaw cellphone use in cars.

    We’re approaching a new age, let’s let go of our ancestors alcoholic endeavors and quit poisoning our teenagers!

    • DAVE August 9, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      “Poisoning our teenagers”???

      What about the HARMFUL effects of marijuana? :

      The immediate effects of taking marijuana include rapid heart beat, disorientation, lack of physical coordination, often followed by depression or sleepiness. Some users suffer panic attacks or anxiety.

      But the problem does not end there. According to scientific studies, the active ingredient in cannabis, THC, remains in the body for weeks or longer.

      Marijuana smoke contains 50% to 70% more cancer-causing substances than tobacco smoke. One major research study reported that a single cannabis joint could cause as much damage to the lungs as up to five regular cigarettes smoked one after another. Long-time joint smokers often suffer from bronchitis, an inflammation of the respiratory tract.

      The drug can affect more than your physical health. Studies in Australia in 2008 linked years of heavy marijuana use to brain abnormalities. This is backed up by earlier research on the long-term effects of marijuana, which indicate changes in the brain similar to those caused by long-term abuse of other major drugs. And a number of studies have shown a connection between continued marijuana use and psychosis.

      Marijuana changes the structure of sperm cells, deforming them. Thus even small amounts of marijuana can cause temporary sterility in men. Marijuana use can upset a woman’s menstrual cycle.

      Studies show that the mental functions of people who have smoked a lot of marijuana tend to be diminished. The THC in cannabis disrupts nerve cells in the brain affecting memory.

      Cannabis is one of the few drugs which causes abnormal cell division which leads to severe hereditary defects. A pregnant woman who regularly smokes marijuana or hashish may give birth prematurely to an undersized, underweight baby. Over the last ten years, many children of marijuana users have been born with reduced initiative and lessened abilities to concentrate and pursue life goals. Studies also suggest that prenatal (before birth) use of the drug may result in birth defects, mental abnormalities and increased risk of leukemia1 in children. ~ Source:

      • BOBBER August 10, 2014 at 12:43 pm

        if u actually wrote all that im impressed

      • Pharms August 12, 2014 at 10:07 am

        I wonder where those claimed effects of marijuana came from? Did it come from the alcohol industry, with Senator McCain in charge (remember, his wife has huge investment in Anheiser-Busch) or was it from the pharmaceutical industry that pays one Utah senator huge sums of money?

      • Dave K August 14, 2014 at 11:13 am

        You must be dipping your snout into the trough of drug war money to come up with lies like these. It is clear that you support a system where the drug cartels sell to children who have money rather than a system that does not sell to kids. Retail marijuana dealers in Colorado do not sell to kids and every dollar spent there pays taxes. None of the drivel that you report is correct. Colorado’s violent crime rate is down, traffic fatalities are down and no one has died there of an overdose of marijuana. Nor are they coming down with any of the diseases you mention. Zombies are not driving buses in Denver nor are they piloting planes from their airports. Although you report that marijuana smoke contains carcinogens you have not told the whole story. Google Dr Donald Tashkin for the part of the story that is not being told. Marijuana does not cause cancer but rather, even heavy marijuana smokers, enjoy a protective effect from the development of many cancers. Google Dr Manuel Guzman and view his work. Cannabis is a cure for cancer, not a cause. This is an incredible, natural, herbal medication without equal, that really does work.

    • JSD August 10, 2014 at 5:40 am

      I guess you don’t study history. Alcohol prohibition was a huge failure. In addition, if teenagers are being poisoned by alcohol, I’d blame their parents, not the alcohol.

  • JAR August 9, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I’m willing to bet there are several lobbyist (with gold in their pockets) standing in line at the various chambers in State of Utah. whispering ” want to expand your budgets with additional means of taxation like Nevada?” Don’t let these gold coins influence your considerations , But…….

    • Pharms August 12, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Probably several Utah lobbyists and politicians telling pharmaceutical companies to give them more money to politic against marijuana. Hatch comes to mind.

  • Maggie August 9, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Jar………perhaps you are right about the lobbyist and a few elected officials. However I think the vast majority of Utahans still think clearly and have chosen NOT to be like some other states.

    • JAR August 10, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Maggie, I thing you could have said the same thing about our neighbors
      40 miles to the south. Why do you think their allowing it now? Bottom line, if Las Vegas officials are pulling in the chips for the folks, Why shouldn’t they? Remember, it takes a majority of elected officials to have the way to proceed.

  • StG Koolaid August 10, 2014 at 7:56 am

    I think the koolaid drunk by religious freaks is much more harmful and mentally damaging than smoking any amount of marijuana

  • BOBBER August 10, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    when can we get the cocaine and meth legal?

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