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Conflict between state, county could affect medical marijuana dispensaries | News

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Conflict between state, county could affect medical marijuana dispensaries

LAS VEGAS -- Medical marijuana stores could be up and running in the valley as soon as January; but that doesn't mean a lot of dispensaries will open when that happens.

In all, only 40 dispensaries are allowed to open across the valley. Eighteen of those will be in unincorporated Clark County.

Local commissioners chose 18 applications, but the state only approved 10 of them, so this has caused disagreements between Clark County Commissioners, and the state, which is causing a hold up.

In the end, this may cause fewer dispensaries to open up.

"I guess that's a potential. I certainly hope it doesn't come to that because ultimately who is going to suffer -- the patient,” said Steve Sisolak, Clark County Commissioner.

Commissioner Sisolak said he's hesitant to grant permits to applicants the state chose without getting approval from the county first.

“The applicants down here met with the commissioners individually or with part of the commission at the county commission meeting. None of that got done at the state level,” Sisolak said. “They brought in some temporary workers who looked over the applications who have no ties to this community, and certainly don't understand the nuances of one location over another one, or one group over another group.”

The State Division of Health said it did everything possible to make sure their dispensary screening process was fair. Tisha Black, an attorney with Black & LoBello, represents several applicants across the valley.

"This is a very complicated process. It's very new. There's a lot of emphasis on security and proper location of the dispensaries. I don't think anybody expected to get it right on the first try,” Black said.

Medical marijuana patients are worried this could impact them.

“This translates trouble for patients because they wouldn't be able to find medication as fast, also what if the whole process gets shut down; we won't have a place to get legal medical marijuana," said Jennifer Solas, WECAN Med. Marijuana Advocate.

State representatives and commissioners will meet in a week in an effort to try and reach some kind of agreement. Some of the applicants chosen by the county, but not by the state are considering taking legal action. However, it's unclear when that may move forward, or how it could hold up the process.