City to discuss marijuana Tuesday

In a regular meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 2 p.m. Aug. 6, Winnemucca city council members will review the recommended ordinances regarding the allowance of marijuana facilities within city limits. The agenda also includes a presentation by the Winnemucca Indian Colony and Tribal Cannabis Consulting regarding a compact that would prevent any dispensary license holders other than the Winnemucca Indian Colony from purchasing a dispensary license within city limits. 

The ordinances will be presented by city attorney Kent Maher, discussed by council members and a public hearing will be set for a future date, tentatively August 20. 

The agenda item regarding the compact reads, “proposal to enter into a marijuana compact agreement with the Winnemucca Indian Colony to pay the city a percentage of the colony retail marijuana sales proceeds in exchange for the city not licensing another marijuana dispensary in the city.” 

The compact to be presented by the Winnemucca Indian Colony was previously presented prior to council members voting to allow state-licensed facilities within city of Winnemucca limits. 

According to city officials, the previous compact presented was that the tribe would give the city 2.7% of the sales and .5% to law enforcement, only on non-Native American sales. 

City officials previously decided to not participate in the compact and instead allow state-licensed facilities to open within city limits as those facilities can be patrolled by local law enforcement with ordinances set by city officials and according to previous discussions with council, state law requires that a state-licensed facility be under extensive security camera monitoring. 

City of Winnemucca Mayor Rich Stone said that he recently told representatives of the Winnemucca Indian Colony marijuana program that the city was not interested in entering a compact with the tribe. Following that conversation, lobbyist Joe Dice individually called each city council member to ask that the city place the compact on the agenda for presentation and review. 

The Winnemucca Indian Colony is working with Tribal Cannabis Consulting for their Marijuana program, a consulting company who has helped other tribes throughout the state establish their marijuana facilities on tribal land. 

Tribal Cannabis Consulting Owner and president Cassandra Dittus said they help the tribe establish a sustainable facility and once training is complete, the facility will be owned and operated solely by the Winnemucca Indian Colony. She said the colony hopes to have a facility operable this fall, possibly in September. 

She said the compact offers the city a share of payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) and that they would also offer a share to the county. 

Dittus said the Winnemucca Indian Colony plans to open a dispensary on the property owned near Hanson and Highland in Winnemucca where late colony Chairman Glen Wasson had planned to build a smoke shop and museum before he was murdered. She said the dispensary would be a “jumping off” point to eventually build a museum and smoke shop in Wasson’s honor. 

“The city has the ability to license and tax a marijuana facility and the tribe is asking to be the facility that they’re going to be working with instead of an additional facility and in exchange, the tribe would be giving tax money to the city,” said Dittus. “It would be an exclusive agreement where the city would agree not to license any other facilities. The initial agreement in template form was for five years – that is also one of the negotiable factors of the contract; to see how it goes and give it a timeframe and see how it works out for both parties.” 

Dittus also said that regarding the eviction of individuals living on the Winnemucca Indian Colony near Lay and South street, these are two issues that are independent of each other, although unfortunate that both issues are active at the same time.

“The issue of evictions has been in litigation for nearly 14 years whereas the reinvigoration of tribal government and department is something we’ve been working on for years and years,” said Dittus. “We have nothing to do with the evictions whatsoever, it's an unfortunate crossover and connection that people are making but we have nothing to do with it nor does the cannabis program. We are more in the business of economic development.”