By Jannelle Calderon
The Las Vegas City Council voted 6-0-1 to deny the Special Use Permit to what could have been a new marijuana dispensary at the corner of Fort Apache Road and Sahara Avenue. Complaints and petitions from neighbors urged the council to reject the request because of the location’s proximity to three elementary schools, residences and family-oriented activities.
The city council is made up of seven members, six to represent the six wards in incorporated Las Vegas, plus the mayor. In this vote Mayor Carolyn Goodman abstained because of her son’s affiliation with the marijuana industry.
The opposition was led by ward 2 Councilwoman Victoria Seaman. Ward 2 covers most of North Summerlin starting at said intersection. Although petitions of support for the potential new business were taken into consideration, the neighborhood outcry and proximity to the elementary schools overcame the vote.
Other concerns included the family-friendly fast-food restaurants in the shopping center where neighbors did not feel comfortable taking their children to dinner near a dispensary. Neighbors also did not want to risk children being influenced to try drugs. Dispensaries do not allow anyone under 21 to enter and IDs must be checked.
Many of the opposition notes and emails that were written to the council and Mayor stigmatized the use and sale of marijuana products regardless of its legal status in Nevada. Although otherwise proven wrong, neighbors worried about an increase in crime, homelessness and drug addictions.
The Planning Commission and staff recommended the approval of the application with a 4-1-1 vote because the location complies with the Title XIX Special Use Permit requirements. Palensky Properties I, LLC’s permit process started six months ago, since, the proposed location has gathered over 1,000 signatures in support from ward 2 neighbors.
Scot Rutledge of Argentum Partners, representing Palenky Properties, stated that there have previously been permit applications that also had support from the commission and opposition from the neighborhood and were approved.
“We want to continue working with the neighbors,” Rutledge said. “Us and the client would like to understand the neighbors’ concerns and continue to pursue this.”
Rutledge asked of the council if the permit was going to be denied, then if it could be “without prejudice” so that the client did not have to start the process over.
The proposed location for the marijuana dispensary is a former animal hospital at 9140 W. Sahara Ave
. in the same shopping center as Dotty’s Gaming and Spirits, and Cafe Rio. It had previously attempted to get the special use permit in January 2019 by a different owner but withdrew the application due to confusion that came with Nevada’s new privilege.
“I have no intention of putting something in the community that posses risks to any demographic in the community,” said Matt McClure, the COO of Cultivate, the permit applicant. “I understand that cannabis can be and will remain a divisive topic, but we are here because of a land-use issue.”
The 4,800-square-foot dispensary would have brought an estimated 1,000 customers to the shopping center a day. Jobs in the area would have been created and would have eased access to potential medical marijuana and CBD products for customers in the neighborhood.
The next closest dispensary is three miles south on Fort Apache Road, where it is unincorporated Clark County.