Are there too many dispensaries in Las Vegas valley?

County commission to discuss at meeting this week

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - Does Clark County need more marijuana dispensaries? That's a question being posed by Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager.

"I don't think we need more medical anywhere.  I don't think we need more recreational," Brager said.

The topic is being discussed by county commissioners at their meeting Wednesday.

This as Clark County has 26 businesses licensed for medical marijuana with 25 of those holding recreational marijuana as well.

Marijuana has been legal for medical purposes for years, but retail recreational sales didn't start until July 1st.

As of early January, there were a total of 47 dispensaries licensed to sell recreational marijuana in all of Clark County, 22 of those businesses in the Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas.

"For the next few years I would love to see for us to just be at a standstill to see what it's doing, how they are doing and how we are benefiting our community," Brager said.

The county commissioner says it is important to her to study the impact recreational marijuana sales have had on local police as well as those charged with inspecting all businesses throughout the county.

"Do they have the capabilities," Brager said.

The discussion comes as a restriction on retail marijuana licenses is coming to an end.

State regulations only allowed retail licenses to be awarded to medical dispensary operators for the first 18 months of the program.

Regulators expect to begin accepting applications from independent operators in November.

Those in the marijuana industry say placing a moratorium on recreational dispensaries would hurt the county as well as marijuana users.

"Not only are they missing out on the application fees but an ongoing basis of tax money coming into Clark County," cannabis consultant Jason Sturtsman said.

Sturtsman points out that many of those looking to get retail licenses would head to other jurisdictions in the county taking application fees and tax revenue with them.

"It can't always be about money," Brager said when asked about the lost revenue.

Sturtsman also says a ban could lead to lawsuits against the county.

Additionally, he says limiting the number of places where people can get marijuana will also inflate the price.

"They have shown in other markets that more dispensaries, more competition brings the cost down," Sturtsman said.

Brager's agenda item is the beginning of the discussion and could lead to the county drafting an ordinance, but would need the support of four members.

It would then be brought back before the commission later in the year for further discussions and a vote.

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