Reno Puts Breaks on MMJ Business

The gambling hotspot of Reno, Nevada, is poised to enact a temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, following the lead of Las Vegas and other cities and counties across the state.

The Reno City Council reportedly will pass a measure at its meeting today preventing the city from accepting dispensary license applications indefinitely. Officials said they will take a wait-and-see approach rather than set a time-frame for the moratorium.

This isn’t unusual or overly concerning. Such bans and moratoriums are common in other states with new dispensary programs, such as Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well as across Nevada. Las Vegas, for instance, passed a six-month moratorium on cannabis businesses in September.

But an extended ban in Reno could put local MMJ entrepreneurs at a disadvantage to their peers in nearby towns.

Under Nevada’s MMJ dispensary law, just 10 dispensaries are allowed in Washoe County, where Reno is located. If Reno waits too long to move forward, prospective dispensary owners elsewhere in the county could secure most of the available licenses.

Washoe County recently issued a temporary moratorium as well, but it has started crafting its own regulations for dispensaries.

Nevada is the process of creating broad state-level regulations and hopes to finalize the rules by January or February. The state then plans to start accepting applications for dispensary licenses in early April. Municipalities will be responsible for drafting and implementing their own specific rules on the industry.