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Medical Pot Licenses Center Of Washoe County Lawsuit

 A legal battle is brewing over the licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries in Washoe County.

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One of the license applicants has filed a lawsuit against the state that says the state ranking system undermines a part of the law intended to guard against monopolies.

Lawyers for Washoe Dispensary LLC say that Tryke Companies Reno LLC should not be awarded two licenses — one in Sparks and one in unincorporated Washoe County.

Washoe Dispensary came in sixth in a ranking system that only allowed the top five applicants to get a dispensary license.

They also challenge plans to issue three of the total five licenses allowed in the unincorporated county to dispensaries being established in one area north Lake Tahoe — in Incline Village and neighboring Crystal Bay.

The suit says the state failed to follow the law requiring that local governments have the final say about where the dispensaries should be located.

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Attorney Ardea Canepa told KNPR's State of Nevada that the statute governing medical marijuana is clear, but is not clear why the rules were not followed.

"Legislature needs to review and maybe make changes," Canepa said.

The lawsuit filed in Washoe County is not the only legal challenge to Nevada's medical marijuana licensing process. Late last year, a lawsuit was filed after Clark County approved 18 applicants for medical pot dispensaries, but the state approved a different group of 18 dispensaries.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)


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Ardea Canepa, attorney
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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.