The Ely City Council approved a draft medical marijuana dispensary request for proposals at their Aug. 11 meeting. The issue, which had been discussed at an earlier meeting, was passed unanimously (5-0) with no discussion.

The proposal states that due to the remote location of Ely, its residents who have medical marijuana recommendations from their doctors must travel to either Clark or Washoe counties in order to purchase their medicine or grow their own. The city of Ely, it says, is looking for a company to open a facility in the city with the goals of reducing the number of people traveling outside the city and White Pine County, reduce and eliminate individuals growing their own weed for personal use and potentially removing excess marijuana from the market that may otherwise fall into the hands of non-medical users, and allowing those that live in the extended rural areas to access their medicine in Ely, a more central location.

The city will make Request for Proposal packets available beginning Aug. 15 and the deadline to file the application will be on Nov. 18. On Dec. 18, the proposals will be presented to the city council for consideration and the possible awarding of a business license. All dates are subject to change at the discretion of the city.

“Due to its central location we believe a marijuana dispensary will benefit not just the citizens of White Pine County, but citizens in neighboring counties, including, but not limited to Lincoln, Nye, Eureka, and Elko Counties,” the draft proposal reads. “No state permits were applied for to place a dispensary in the City of Ely, so as part of this RFQ the awarding company would be required to obtain, at their own expense, the necessary state licenses to operate a dispensary in the City of Ely.”

The draft states its intent as being able to hire a qualified professional marijuana dispensary company to operate a legal dispensary in Ely.

Interested companies will be required to meet all of the following requirements:

a) Demonstrated experience in the sale of medical marijuana to individuals carrying a state approved medical marijuana card.

b) Demonstrated experience in maintaining a secured building to prevent theft of medical marijuana.

c) Demonstrated experience with and knowledge of all state and federal laws pertaining in any way to the sale of medical marijuana in its various forms, including, but not limited to, packaging, weighing, measuring and preparation of medical marijuana.

d) Provide three copies of the owner’s resume as it pertains to operating a medical marijuana facility, a confidential list of suppliers, if the medical marijuana is supplied by a business not owned and operated by the applicant, a business plan for the operation, including, but not limited to, placement of the facility within the city of Ely, security measures, general business model that will be utilized and photographs of the exterior and interior of each location currently operated by the applicant.

The council will then evaluate each application based on responsiveness, comprehension, and quality of the response to the RFP; the experience and qualifications of the firm and its partners/employees, especially with respect to operating a safe and secure medical marijuana dispensary.

The city may request that proposers provide presentations to the council and/or conduct interviews with firms selected by the city administrator.

Once a firm is decided upon by the council, a city ordinance dictating the terms of sales and the operation of the dispensary, will also be brought to the council for approval.

In November, Nevada voters will go to the polls to vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana (Question 2). City Attorney Chuck Odgers, who wrote the draft RFP, said the issue of sales of recreational marijuana has not yet been discussed by the council, but that he will be presenting a draft ordinance to them prior to the November election so that the city will be prepared should the initiative pass.