TX: Mesquite City Council Debates Medical Marijuana Separation Ordinance


The Mesquite City Council heard a lengthy discussion pertaining to an ordinance that outlines separation requirements for facilities wishing to locate next to existing medical marijuana establishments at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The city’s development services director, Richard Secrist, proposed adopting Bill No. 502 as Ordinance No. 502 to allow any facility that wishes to locate or build within the previously restricted 1,000 foot limit to do so if they sign a disclosure agreement.

“I don’t think it was the intent of the medical marijuana requirements to restrict what happens on other properties,” Secrist said. “It was to keep them a certain distance away.”

The issue was originally presented to Secrist by MLF Receiverships Inc. in regard to the Barcelona Partners properties, which inquired about the separation requirements for the property located next to Deep Roots Medical.

Along with creating an exemption for any facility that signs a disclosure agreement to locate within the 1,000-foot limit, the ordinance would also alter the language to define the separation requirements be measured from front door to front door – rather than property line to property line – to be consistent with the separation requirements the city currently has for facilities that sell liquor.

Several residents, including City Council candidate Dave Ballweg, voiced concern over the proposal during public comments.

“If you change it from door to door, there was one applicant off Riverside Road that was excluded because her property line was against another residential property line. If you measure door to door, I think that property now would qualify,” he said. “I think when we start changing these zonings and these rules, you’re now changing the original premise for these particular restrictions.”

Councilman George Rapson agreed with the effort to make the language consistent with regulations facing liquor sales, but said the proposal “probably does open a can of worms potentially.”

“I don’t really have a big issue with it, but some of the public comment was how do you transmit that information to the families who bring their kids to child care,” Rapson said.

Another resident asked the council during public comments if there was another way to address the concern raised by MLF.

“Rather than change the zoning, might it be possible to do it as a variance basis on an individual basis rather than do a broad sweep and change the zoning?” he asked.

Councilman Kraig Hafen opposed the ordinance.

“Every other distance requirement meets all three levels of government – local, state, federal – these guys have never met the federal level, it’s still illegal.”

Rapson was quick to point out that the ordinance had nothing to do with Deep Roots Medical, and that any medical marijuana facility wishing to locate within city limits still must adhere to the 1,000-foot separation requirement.

“I do want to remind everybody this is not anything Deep Roots Medical is asking for. They don’t have a dog in this fight,” he said, adding that the issue comes down to what land owners wish to do with their property.

“I don’t think there’s any way to say exactly how that Barcelona Partners property is going to develop in the future,” Secrist said. He mentioned property owners near a subdivision located next to the city’s water treatment facility, which sometimes emits a foul odor, had to sign a disclosure agreement before closing on their properties.

“Every once in a while we still gets calls from someone who is mad that the treatment plants smells, but they at least knew about it when they brought the property,” Secrist said.

“This is not the only way to approach it, it’s what I came up with at the time,” Secrist said. “There may be a better approach and maybe the variance is a better way to go to limit the applicability of this.”

Rapson agreed that allowing variances, instead of a sweeping change, would be a viable solution.

“It’s probably more reasonable to have variances on individual parcels or areas that fall within that distance requirement,” he said.

The council agreed that further discussion was appropriate, and tabled the discussion until the first meeting in October.

Election ordinance approved

The council agreed to adopt Bill No. 504 as Ordinance No. 504, amending the city’s municipal code on elections.

The ordinance states that if a candidate running for City Council receives a share of the votes that is equal to over half of the number of voters who participated in the election, then that candidate will be awarded a seat.

The council agreed to adopt the ordinance unanimously, but Rapson clarified his stance.

“I acknowledge this was probably not correct when this was done in 2011, but my opposition has always been changing the law and making it retroactive is the piece I’ve always disagreed with. Get it right the first time, and if you don’t change it, but you got to live with what you did,” he said.

BLM presentation

The Bureau of Land Management’s Gayle Marrs-Smith was on hand to present a brief update to the city regarding the bureau’s activity in Gold Butte. She said that the BLM hopes to include local communities in activities this fall.

“Our goal is to enter into the Gold Butte area by the front door. We want to be straightforward, we want to be transparent in what we’re doing, and we want to work closely with the community,” she said.

Marrs-Smith added that the BLM’s three goals were to continue land management in the area, ensure public health and safety, and engage in public outreach.

New officer for MPD

The council agreed unanimously to approve the hiring of an additional full-time police officer for the Mesquite Police Department.

Citing increased traffic, population and crime within the city, Police Chief Troy Tanner outlined the need for adding an officer to the force.

“We still are one of the safer cities in the state of Nevada,” Tanner said. “We strive to maintain that number.”

City charter

City Attorney Bob Sweetin presented the idea of adopting a charter for the city of Mesquite.

“Basically, we are currently the largest city in the state without a charter,” Sweetin said when explaining his proposal.

The most recent city in Nevada to adopt a charter was Las Vegas in 1983, Sweetin said. The council agreed to put the item on the agenda for future meetings to gauge the public’s interest.

“Let’s get the public involved, if they don’t want to do it, it’s their city,” Hafen said.

Sweetin said that the city would have flexibility in shaping the charter, which is a legal document that establishes a municipality as a city or town.

“You can be as inclusive or exclusive as you want” he said. “Some of the city charters are very long and very detailed, and some are very broad and afford a lot of leeway to the council.”

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Mesquite City Council Debates Medical Marijuana Separation Ordinance
Author: Lucas M Thomas
Contact: The Spectrum
Photo Credit: Chris Caldwell
Website: The Spectrum