LAS VEGAS — Dozens of medical marijuana businesses in Las Vegas may be forced to delay their openings while the state tries to fill regulatory positions designed to ensure dispensaries are complying with the law.
There are currently no inspectors based in southern Nevada, leaving the job up to one based in northern Nevada who has been traveling when needed, the Las Vegas Sun reported (http://bit.ly/1HWksVS).
Nevada approved medical marijuana in 2013, and more than a dozen businesses are expected to land in Las Vegas by the end of the year, including dispensaries, growers and producers. The program has so far been delayed by lengthy application processes, legal disputes and more rule-making.
Officials hope to fill one of the southern inspector positions within the next week and the other within the month, said Steve Gilbert, the state's medical marijuana program manager.
The ideal candidate would have a background in inspection or environmental health regulations. The job would be to check for compliance to the state law, including health, production and operational standards, not to check on the quality of the plant itself.
"The (job) is to look at the health aspects like cleanliness and the use of pesticides," Gilbert told the newspaper.
Attorney Amanda Connor said the vacancy is a concern among business owners in the medical marijuana industry, including some of her clients.
"Any new inspectors the state hires will need some time to come up to speed and learn about these facilities and regulations," Connor said. "It might create a backlog or delay in the licensing, and the facilities would have to wait to open."
Gilbert said the vacancies would not affect the program and that the state's Division of Public and Behavioral Health has already hired three auditors to monitor the financial regulations to ensure pot business owners pay state fees.
Information from: Las Vegas Sun, http://www.lasvegassun.com