Nevada makes millions on marijuana, but West Wendover’s weed plans hit a hiccup

Posted at 4:54 PM, Nov 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-20 19:55:33-05

WEST WENDOVER, Nevada -- This border town's plans to open a marijuana dispensary within city limits have hit a snag, which could delay a planned opening in early 2018.

In an interview with FOX 13, West Wendover Mayor Daniel Corona said the city ran into a "hiccup" with how they awarded a dispensary license.

"We did the process that we were told and now the state is saying that's not the correct process," he said.

The license awarded to Mesquite-based dispensary Deep Roots Harvest was rescinded, and now the process begins again. Nevada's Department of Taxation will now compile a ranked list of applicants and give it to West Wendover to re-choose. That could delay plans to open a dispensary on the Utah-Nevada border by early 2018.

"My goal is spring of 2018. We're already that much farther behind the rest of the state," Mayor Corona told FOX 13.

West Wendover has picked a place for a marijuana dispensary to go -- an industrial area south of town. By the time it is built and opens, the mayor said it was his desire that they be allowed to sell recreational cannabis. The city council passed an ordinance that allows for that possibility, but has not signed off on it.

"I'm positive that there's been enough community support that it will happen," he said. "It will be close."

The latest figures provided to FOX 13 by Nevada's Department of Taxation show marijuana sales have been huge. In July, August and September, Nevada recorded more than $88 million in retail sales. Of that, more than $13 million was taxed and went toward education and the state's general fund.

As West Wendover continues to eye marijuana sales, Mayor Corona said they will have to grapple with where people could consume it. He told FOX 13 he would like for the city council to consider whether to create a "cannabis lounge" for out-of-state tourists. Like many things that Nevada offers, marijuana is illegal in Utah.

Nevada's attorney general has not given a legal opinion, but legislative attorneys have suggested cities could do that to get around bans on marijuana consumption in hotels or casinos.

"I don't know if I'm for or against it yet, but I think it's irresponsible not to talk about it," the mayor said of a cannabis lounge. "Because the gaming commission has said absolutely no marijuana in casinos, so folks who come out here -- they're either driving or staying in the casinos and that puts them in a predicament. If they purchase it, are they going to transport it across state lines? Or can they have a place to legally and safely use it here? I think it's a conversation we need to have."