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Bigwigs among 32 applicants for pot permits

Pahrump Valley Times graphic by Heather Ruth / Images courtesy of Thinkstock
Pahrump Valley Times graphic by Heather Ruth / Images courtesy of Thinkstock

A school board member, a former local doctor, a big development firm and a bar owner are among some of the applicants seeking special use permits for medical marijuana establishments before the Nye County Commission Wednesday.

Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. in what is expected to be a day-long process hearing 32 applications by 18 different parties, of which 17 are for cultivation facilities, nine for production facilities and six for dispensaries. Twenty-three of the 32 applications are located in Pahrump, five are from Amargosa Valley, three from Tonopah and one in Lower Smoky Valley.

Nye County Planning Director Darrell Lacy said the county won’t license the facilities until after the special use permits are granted and the state has issued provisional medical marijuana certificates.

Mike Floyd, a Nye County school board trustee, is part of a group called Green Life Productions LLC, which has applied for a permit to open a medical marijuana cultivation facility at 1201 S. Loop Rd. It would be located in an old lumber building behind the Goodwill store. Floyd said it’s a good location, with a sprinkler system that is already fenced in.

Floyd said he became interested after talking to longtime local resident Steven Cantwell, a medical marijuana card holder and one of his partners in Green Life Productions, along with Gloria Boucher and Mike Conely.

“Somebody wanted to meet and talk about that space and it was him. He’s the one who really convinced me it’s something we could do and obviously it’s a chance of a lifetime to get into an industry that’s not going to be easy to get into after this. It’s not easy now, but it’s going to be pretty regulated,” Floyd said.

He acknowledges the image may not fit well with his school board duties, but the other trustees gave him their support.

“It’s a legalized business, there’s no reason I can’t be involved in a legalized business,” Floyd said. That took away any of his personal objections, he said. After watching Clark County Commission meetings on medical marijuana applications, which included big names like Tony Marnell III and Las Vegas Sun publisher Brian Greenspun, Floyd became even more comfortable applying for the permit.

“That kind of makes me feel better. I’m not the only guy out here risking his reputation on it,” Floyd said. “I hope people understand, we’re not going to be out here pushing marijuana on the street. It’s 100 percent medical use is what we’re doing, it’s highly regulated.”

Jan Jensen, owner of the Maverick Saloon and Dance Hall, said she would close the bar at 340 E. Mesquite Ave., if her application for a marijuana cultivation, production and dispensary are approved. Jensen said she already has security, an accounting system and employees working in a 24-hour business.

Jensen said she became convinced after learning all the uses of medical marijuana for curing anything from epilepsy to cancer to insomnia. Two attorneys and a doctor specializing in pain management called her, she then viewed different marijuana venues. Her business would be called the Nye County Wellness Center.

“What we plan on doing is giving back to the community,” Jensen said. “We plan on giving back 1 percent to nonprofits or who needs help in the community.”

Jensen said she has a member from San Francisco who teaches about medical marijuana, adding she feels they have a real, real strong team.

“What’s really unique about this, once we’re licensed there will be very little down time,” Jensen said. “We will be operating very quickly to be able to serve the needs of the community. I have a one-stop shop there. I have virtually everything we need for this operation.”

Jensen hasn’t told her employees at the Maverick, adding she didn’t want to get the cart before the horse. There’s only one dispensary that will be permitted in Nye County under state law, though there’s no limit on the number of cultivation facilities.

“I’ve been in this business 20 years. We have several bars right around us that will take care of their needs. This is a real opportunity for the community. I had a totally different conception of this whole thing until I found out they take out the THC, people are not getting high,” Jensen said.

Dr. Pejman Bady, who has practiced medicine in Pahrump for 19 years, said like many physicians he wasn’t interested in prescribing medical marijuana until his mother used it during her chemotherapy after relapsing with ovarian cancer two years ago. The difference was like night and day.

“She went through it and she told me that her life has completely changed on the medical marijuana and chemo life and I’ve become a believer. Plus there’s a lot of patients that we have that are on high dose opiates,” Bady said. “I’m hoping this will reduce that addiction and use and morbidity and mortality that we have with prescription drugs, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Loritabs and that sort of thing.”

Bady’s group, Nye Natural Medicinal Solutions LLC, dba NuVeda LLC, applied for a medical marijuana cultivation and production facility on 16.56 acres at 2801 E. Thousandaire Blvd. and a dispensary at 301 S. Oxbow Ave.

Focus Property Group founder John Ritter is part of a group called the Grove Wellness Center, which has applied for a permit to open a dispensary at 1541 E. Basin Ave., which would be across the street from the Ian Deutch Government Center, which includes the sheriff’s department and the courts. Other board members include I. Scott Bogatz and Demetri Kouretas, both of Las Vegas, according to records on file with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office. Focus Property Group received a hotly-debated development agreement to build 5,800 homes in the southeast corner of Pahrump in 2006.

The law firm of Kaempfer, Crowell, Renshaw, Gronauer and Fiorentino, who has represented Focus Property Group in the past, is the registered agent for another company that applied for a permit to open a cultivation and production facility at 3171 E. Tillman St. on 13.58 acres owned by the Daniel Seid and S. Settlemeyer Trust. The applicant is CW Nevada LLC, which consists of board members Brian Padgett, Paul Robarts and Timothy Smits. The Pahrump Regional Planning Commission already approved the zone change last month.

Former State Sen. Sandra Tiffany told county commissioners she was uneasy about having to divulge her business plan in public, before her competitors, before the state considers applications in August. Her company, OMC, LLC, applied for a cultivation and dispensary permit at 260 N. Emery St.

“I have an operating plan that’s almost 100 pages, I have a business plan that’s 75 pages. I have very sensitive information about my start-up operation and cost,” Tiffany told commissioners at a June 3 meeting. “What makes sense is financial solvency. The state requires at least a $250,000 letter from one of the members of the LLC. The state also requires financial statements.”

The RPC also already approved zoning for Champ Roach, who is already a large agricultural producer, producing 2,000 pounds of basil per month in a 30,000-square-foot greenhouse at 9680 S. Oakridge Ave. Nevada Natural Medicines LLC has applied for a cultivation and production permit at that location.

Peter Cnecco, 3910 Chaffe Ave. and Las Vegas resident Philip Restifo, from Green Cross of America, who applied for a permit to open a cultivation facility at 5101 S. Oakridge Ave., also want a waiver from residential separation requirements.

Willia Chaney, applicant for A Touch of Healing, applied for a cultivation permit at 2121 W. Blosser Ranch Rd.

Local construction company owner Debra Strickland has been a consultant for ACC Industries Inc., which has an application for a cultivation facility on 1.4 acres in the former Skatezone building at 1261 E. Calvada Blvd.

Harborside Nevada Inc. has applied for a cultivation and production permit for 4.86 acres where Nye County does its auctions at 800 S. Margaret St.

MM Development Company LLC has applied for a cultivation, production and dispensary on 2.61 acres on property owned by Creekside Investments LLC at 1530 E. Mesquite Ave.

Wellness Orchards of Nevada LLC, which lists Debra and Lance Goth of Stow, Ohio as board members, applied for a cultivation permit at 801 S. Panorama Rd.

A couple of applicants want to open facilities in Amargosa Valley. They include Acres Cultivation LLC, which applied for a cultivation and production permit for 37.72 acres at 950 E. Anvil Rd. Nye Farm Tech Ltd., with managing member Dokmai Sullivan, applied for a cultivation permit on 19.36 acres at 2811 W. Amargosa Farm Road. Stephen Pingree, manager of Symbiosis LLC, applied for a cultivation and production permit on 16.76 acres at Weiss Boulevard, Poplar Avenue and Hope Lane.

Aquaponics Technologies LLC applied for a cultivation permit on 155.19 acres on Craig Road in Lower Smoky Valley. New Vegas LP, which lists Fred and Shench Alaee and Sousan Chaichian of Las Vegas as board members, applied for a cultivation, production and dispensary permit on 8.23 acres at 400 Highway 6 in Tonopah, which would require a 165-mile one-way drive for Pahrump patients picking up marijuana.

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