City Council Puts Marijuana Back On Agenda

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The Mesquite City Council has reversed their earlier decision to not hold additional hearings on medical marijuana for six months.  At the July 8 regular meeting of the council, consideration of ordinances to allow medical marijuana to be grown, processed and sold in Mesquite was delayed until the second week of January 2015.  In a reversal of the vote, the council, in a technical meeting on July 15, instead decided to hold a special meeting on August 5 at 5 p.m. on the ordinances.

The request for the special meeting came from councilors Cindi Delaney and Geno Withelder.  Delaney told the council she wanted to have an expert testify at the hearing.  The decision keeps the possibility of Mesquite having medical marijuana facilities approved during the next year alive.

In public comment the decision was met with derision as well as support.  Connie Faust told the council that she didn’t expect to be standing in front of them. “I believed a vote to delay would remain a vote to delay,” said Faust.

Mesquite businessman Dave Ballweg told the council he had followed city government for many years, “but I have never seen a turnaround like this.”  Ballweg criticized the council for making a decision and then “due to outside pressures” changing their vote.  “This is the biggest decision any council has made since the incorporation of Mesquite,” Ballweg told the council.

Not all testimony was against the council decision.  Residents Mike McGreer and John Williams both thanked the council for putting the measures back on the agenda.  McGreer said that he supported going back to the original schedule for hearings.  “Voters of Nevada have approved it and the state of Nevada has put forward regulations to do it,” said McGreer.

Williams said he applauded the council for taking the time to get the decision right and giving “both sides an opportunity” to testify.

Councilor Kraig Hafen asked staff why August 5 was picked as the date for the hearing, when the city council had a regular meeting on August 12.  City Attorney Cheryl Hunt and Development Services Director Richard Secrist told Hafen that a decision had to be made by August 5 to allow time for people to apply to the state for medical marijuana facility approvals, which ends on August 18.

With no other comment the council approved a special meeting on medical marijuana at 5 p.m. on August 5.

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