Henderson residents will soon not have to travel far for their recreational marijuana purchases.
The Henderson City Council voted Tuesday to establish retail marijuana regulations and licenses. However, there are still a few more steps that need to be taken before retail customers can purchase marijuana in Henderson.
While sales could start as soon as October, it could be November before the five existing medical marijuana dispensaries in Henderson can start selling recreational, said Andrew Jolley, Nevada Dispensary Association president and owner of The+Source, which has a location in Henderson.
"They still have to go through and approve the five companies who are going to be dual licensed as medical and retail and that takes another city council meeting," he said. "So we have to go through the process to make sure we get on the agenda for the next city council meeting. Then if everyone is approved, they'll be able to open after that point."
"It means a lot for our industry. There are a lot of reasons why we think it makes sense for the city and for the community. First and foremost, the fact that the voters in Henderson voted for recreational marijuana last November so we think it's important to institute and implement the will of the voter," Jolley said. "But in addition to that, there's a lot of economic and societal benefits that will come to the city as a result as well."
Before Tuesday's vote, the city of Henderson had put a moratorium on recreational marijuana in the city. That has led to some confused retail customers coming to Henderson medical dispensaries who expected to be able to purchase marijuana.
"Henderson has been very deliberate, not only with recreational but medical as well," Jolley said. "Three years ago, they had a moratorium on medical dispensaries opening as well. They eventually changed that and were able to allow dispensaries to open up. They've been operating in the city for at least a year and a half without incident."
Jolley noted that Henderson city staff members reached out to a number of constituents within the city, including residents, the health care community, the marijuana industry and elected officials on what would be the best way to implement the recreational program.
"They don't want a dispensary on every corner in the city," he said. "I think they want to take a slow, measured, thoughtful approach and be more conservative about how they roll out the program. It is somewhat controversial and they want to be cautious and I understand that."