Las Vegas Sun

October 23, 2017

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Marijuana:

Southern Nevada moving toward 24-hour pot dispensaries

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Oasis Cannabis

An interior view of the Oasis Cannabis dispensary at 1800 S. Industrial Road in Las Vegas.

Southern Nevada is moving toward allowing 24-hour pot dispensaries.

Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday approved a request by Oasis Cannabis to allow the marijuana dispensary to operate 24 hours a day.

The standard hours of operation for dispensaries set by the city are 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. — meaning they're required to close for three hours each morning. However, the wording of the ordinance allows the council to amend those hours on a case-by-case basis.

“We are on Industrial Road,” said Ben Sillitoe, CEO and co-founder of Oasis Cannabis. “There are 24-hour businesses all around us. … It makes sense operationally.”

Oasis Cannabis is one of 10 dispensaries within the city of Las Vegas. It is the first to request round-the-clock operations, but it is unlikely to be the last.

“We suspect now that one dispensary has (received approval), others will come forward,” said Mary McElhone, business licensing manager for the city. She added that, as long as the dispensaries are in good standing and operating without issues, they should have no problem getting approval.

The city also could consider amending the ordinance to make 24-hour operations the default, but at Wednesday’s meeting there was no discussion about pursuing this option.

However, the Clark County Commission a day earlier voiced support for doing just that.

At their Tuesday meeting, commissioners expressed a desire to give the 26 marijuana dispensaries under their jurisdiction the option to stay open 24 hours — up from 20 hours — each day.

Chairman Steve Sisolak and Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani touted dispensary security in pitching the prospective measure, arguing that forcing dispensaries to close from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. presents a “soft target” for thieves and assailants looking to commit crimes.

“It’s a huge financial issue for businesses, too,” Sisolak said. “Right now they have to shut down, count everything up, come back an hour or two later and start the whole thing up again.”

Giunchigliani said that while the original 20-hour schedule was put in place for the medical marijuana industry, its success has shown that marijuana dispensaries would be able to support a 24-hour schedule.

“Business model-wise, we’re a 24-hour town,” Giunchigliani said. “So it makes sense.”

The 26 dispensaries would not be required to stay open 24 hours each day but would have the option, Sisolak said. “You make your own business plan, we just give you the flexibility.”

Speaking in favor of moving to the all-day schedule, Nevada Dispensary Association President Andrew Jolley said dispensary owners were “united” in their request, though not all would implement the 24-hour schedule.

Commissioners will vote on the proposed change at an Oct. 4 Zoning Commission meeting. If approved, it will be set for a public hearing during the Clark County Commission’s Oct. 17 meeting.

North Las Vegas already allows its four dispensaries to operate 24 hours a day.

Henderson has been the most reluctant municipality when it comes to embracing marijuana. Its five medical marijuana dispensaries are not yet cleared to sell recreational products. They are expected to begin as early as October and no later than December. Their hours of operation will be the most restrictive in the valley — 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Editor’s note: Brian Greenspun, the CEO, publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun, has an ownership interest in Essence Cannabis Dispensary.

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