Brennan Linsley / AP
Published Tuesday, April 22, 2014 | 9:31 a.m.
Updated Tuesday, April 22, 2014 | 7:30 p.m.
Southern Nevada’s green rush is on as more than 100 businesses hurried to file medical marijuana license applications with Clark County before today’s deadline to stake out a claim in what’s expected to be a lucrative industry.
A total of 206 applications were filed by 109 legal entities with the county’s Business Licensing Department before today’s 5 p.m. deadline.
That total includes 90 applications for dispensaries, 70 applications for cultivation facilities, 45 for production facilities and one for an independent testing laboratory.
More than two-thirds of the applicants waited until Tuesday to file their preliminary review forms, making for a busy day at the county’s business licensing department.
The review forms include business plans, financial statements, the location of the proposed business and criminal background checks for owners. Applicants also had to prove they had at least $250,000 in liquid assets.
Businesses who met today’s deadline will have until May 2 to submit a zoning application and the accompanying $5,000 fee for the special-use permits needed to operate a medical marijuana establishment.
The county commission plans to review and award a limited number of special-use permits at a June 5 public meeting.
Businesses can apply for one of four license types.
Dispensaries will be the storefronts where patients can go to purchase medical marijuana. Only 10 dispensary licenses will be granted in unincorporated Clark County. Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas also will be limited to a maximum of 10 dispensaries.
Other business types include cultivation facilities, where the marijuana is grown, production facilities, where it is processed into edibles and other marijuana-infused products, and independent testing laboratories, where the quality and safety of the drug is verified.
Clark County is the first local government to begin accepting applications for medical marijuana businesses. It approved new regulations for the industry at a meeting last month.
Las Vegas and North Las Vegas are developing regulations and plan to start licensing in a few months, while Henderson has imposed a moratorium prohibiting medical marijuana applications until July.
The Boulder City Council voted in February to ban medical marijuana businesses.
Applicants who are successful and receive a license from Clark County or one of the other jurisdictions will still have to apply for a state license with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. That application process is expected to start this summer.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Nevada since voter’s approved its use in 2000, but no system for distributing the drug to patients was set up at the time.
Legislators passed a law in 2013 setting up a medical marijuana market modeled on a similar system in Arizona.