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October 25, 2014

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Government:

Clark County commissioners to spend 3 days talking medical marijuana

Clark County commissioners will spend three days this week talking about pot.

Commissioners plan to weed through 81 applications for medical marijuana dispensaries and choose 18 that get to break into the business in Clark County.

The commission also will discuss a potential property tax increase to pay for operations at University Medical Center during its regular meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

All the meetings will be at the Clark County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway.

Medical marijuana marathon

The county will light up with medical marijuana mania Wednesday for the three-day hearing on dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county.

The commission will start reviewing the 81 applications at noon Wednesday. Each applicant will have six minutes to make their case. Commissioners and the public will have time to ask questions, too.

That means it could take at least 14 hours to review all the applications. The hearing is expected to continue through Friday.

After presentations, commissioners will choose 18 dispensary applicants to forward to the state for final approval.

In addition to the dispensaries, more than 100 applications to open growing facilities, production plants for marijuana-infused edibles and testing laboratories will be considered by the commission in a separate public hearing at a later date.

Tax increase for UMC

University Medical Center’s troubled finances aren’t showing any signs of improvement. The county is increasing its annual subsidy to the public hospital from $41 million to $71 million for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Commission Chair Steve Sisolak said the county can’t afford to keep supporting UMC at that level and wants commissioners to look at other options to boost the hospital’s revenue.

Commissioners will discuss a potential property tax increase to support the hospital during their regular meeting Tuesday.

Although they won’t be approving an increase anytime soon, commissioners could vote to put an advisory question on the upcoming ballot to gauge the public’s support.

Dotty’s debate on hold

With commissioners preoccupied by pot, the ongoing battle over Dotty’s business model of neighborhood gaming parlors has been put on the back burner.

Commissioners are set to discuss changes to its tavern gaming laws Tuesday, but it’s unlikely they’ll have any concrete proposals to consider.

Commissioners passed a three-month moratorium in March banning any new applications to open bars with slot machines. At the time, they said they planned to craft new regulations to address concerns that Dotty’s and other slot parlors in Las Vegas are earning too much money from gaming and not enough from selling food and drinks.

The application moratorium is set to expire in mid-June, but commissioners aren’t any closer to agreeing on new rules.

The county commission asked for guidance from the Nevada Gaming Commission on the issue last month, but the gaming commission said it was looking to the Legislature for action.

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