Washoe County seeks more money from medical marijuana

Listen to the story

Washoe County seeks more money from medical marijuana


The City of Reno will not be accepting applications for medical marijuana dispensaries anytime soon. On Wednesday, City Council Members voted to put a stay on applicants for dispensaries.

Revenue neutral: that was not exactly what commissioners were hoping to hear when staff came to update them on proposed regulations for dispensaries.

"I don't care if it's revenue neutral. I think it should be a revenue generator from the county's perspective. I mean, I'm talking a lot of money."

That's Commissioner Bonnie Weber, who says the estimated 600 or so dollars for a business license isn't going to cut it.

Bob Webb, who's charged with developing rules to govern the sale of cannabis in Washoe, says a handful of state laws limit the county's ability to charge extra fees.

"State law is very restrictive on what a county commission can charge for fees on businesses based on revenue and based on taxes. Again, that analysis hasn't been completed lacking legal counsel."

The other issue is that the county's district attorney has removed himself from the discussion out of concern that current federal law prohibits him from advising the county on the substance.

While they don't want to price gauge, commissioners say the fees don't take into account the indirect or unseen expenses of the drug, such as enforcing that people don't drive under the influence.

Commissioner David Humke says the state's executive agencies moved rapidly to implement the medical marijuana program.

"They are moving so fast, and I think it was said by one of the other commissioners, there's little or no concern for local governments."

The board will reconvene later this month to review the updated regulations once it has also heard from the state.