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North Las Vegas asserts pot business ownership information are private

North Las Vegas denied a request for who owns the marijuana businesses in the city, claiming that the names and ownership interests of the marijuana businesses are not public documents.

Ronald Delos Santos

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North Las Vegas pot companies
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Have you ever think to own a marijuana business but you don’t want anyone to know? Great news for you! Opening up a pot shop in North Las Vegas got you covered.

The city government of North Las Vegas denied a Centrio News request for who owns the marijuana businesses in the city, claiming that the names and ownership interests of the marijuana businesses in North Las Vegas are not public documents.

That means that the general public cannot know who is profiting from the 52 recreational marijuana dispensaries, cultivation centers and production facilities operating in North Las Vegas.

Knowing who has a huge stake in marijuana market could bring to light political or business interests amongst owners, said Barry Smith, executive director of the Nevada Press Association.

Pot businesses in Clark County, Nevada.

Pot businesses in Clark County, Nevada.

“It’s in the public’s interest to know if those conflicts exist,” Smith said.

Ownership stake for other state license bearers, like gaming or liquor, are considered public. So the court’s decision, according to Smith, is puzzling and is inexplicable.

“It’s very much out of the ordinary to protect the names of license holders,” Smith added.

The city government of North Las Vegas cited a state of Nevada Supreme Court opinion issued on Thursday, August 3 — the same day the city denied the records request.

That opinion holds back from a 2015 lawsuit filed by the Reno Gazette-Journal against the city of Sparks. The Sparks city granted access to the business licenses for marijuana business companies, with the names redacted for security or legal purposes.

The newspaper, which is owned by Gannett Company, Inc., sued and won in district court. But the Nevada state Supreme Court said that the law allows local government units can keep ownership information for marijuana businesses private.

Senator Tick Segerblom checks out marijuana before being the first customer to purchase recreational marijuana at Reef Dispensaries in Las Vegas.

Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom, who was instrumental in crafting the language of the law, said that the confidentiality included in those laws was intended to protect the medical marijuana patients and doctors, and not business owners.

“It was never intentional to keep the name of the actual owner private,” Segerblom said.

The city of North Las Vegas’ withholding to disclose the names of the marijuana business owners is an evident contrast to its Southern Nevada neighbors.

Both Las Vegas and Clark County require recreational marijuana companies to disclose the names of all individuals with more than 5 percent ownership stake when applying for a license. Meanwhile, the city of Henderson recently extended a temporary ban on issuing recreational marijuana business licenses.

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