Mineral County Commissioners met some resistance from a Mineral County resident when they sat down to talk about the adoption of Mineral County Ordinance 250A Bill 266.
The ordinance amends Mineral County code to regulate marijuana establishments within Mineral County.
Tom Bergeron, Sr. of Mina questioned the commissioners on the ordinance about marijuana being illegal federally. He read from the Mineral County ordinance, “Whereas the use, cultivation, distribution, production, possession and transportation of marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and marijuana remains classified as a ‘controlled substance’ by both Nevada and federal law, this Board does not have the authority to (and northing in this Ordinance is intended to) authorize, promote, condone or aid in the production, distribution or possession of marijuana in violation of any applicable law…”.
He asked the commissioners if they know it is illegal, why they are going to allow it.
“What is the impetus to go and do something that you readily acknowledge in writing is illegal,” Bergeron asked the commissioners. “Where do you get the authority to break the law?”
Commissioner Jerrie Tipton asked Bergeron is it not legal in the State of Nevada. Bergeron explained that federal law has supremacy over state laws.
Tipton explained that she knows of three other counties in the West that were sued because they did not allow the grow and distribution of marijuana.
Bergeron then questioned the county as to how they could not yet have an ordinance regarding marijuana on the books, “yet in September, you gave a company a bogus license to grow marijuana when you don’t even have an ordinance.”
He explained that he filed a complaint with the Nevada State Attorney General’s Office challenging the “validity” of the license for Custom Condos [who applied for a Mineral County Business License to cultivate marijuana.]
Tipton explained to him that she believes that marijuana will be legal on the federal level within five years. Commissioner Garth Price stated, “I say a year.”
“Tom we are going to do this,” Tipton told him.
“But you don’t have the right,” Bergeron explained. “You are violating all the rights of the people of Mineral County. You are making the people an involuntary accompanist to violating federal law.”
“The only thing that is stopping you is nobody has a $100 grand to hire a high powered law firm to sue your ass,” he told the commissioners. “That’s the only thing stopping you. If somebody had money to take this into court and beat you up in the court, this would end. Because it is stupid.”
Bergeron explained that the money trail is why the commissioners passed with ordinance. They lay it on top of the table and call it “taxes”.
“If you try to pass this thing, it will not end. And you’ll be stepping over my body to cut the ribbon at that marijuana facility, I promise you that,” Bergeron calmly told the commissioners.
Cherrie George stated she had a concern about approving an ordinance that okay’s a growing site, revenues from the sales of marijuana but it is “still illegal for your employees to use it.”
“You are sending a mixed message,” she told the commissioners.
She feels that it sends a mixed message to the children and employees of the county.
“It’s called hypocrisy,” Bergeron said.
“So what happened to the medical marijuana ordinance,” George asked.
Tipton explained that at one time there was absolutely none and that the commissioners rescinded the ordinance as the state had just passed marijuana to be legal.
“We knew that someone at sometime was going to apply for a license to grow marijuana in Mineral County,” Tipton said.
Incoming Mineral County Recorder-Auditor Cindy Nixon asked the commissioners if the ordinance was rescinded due to the revenue it would generate.
The State of Nevada came issue a license regardless of how Mineral County feels.
Patrick Hughes, Mineral County Emergency Manager, asked if the passing of this ordinance will affect the approval of grants.