KNPR

Sparks Keeps Med Pot Names To Itself

sparks_medical_marijuana.jpg

(AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

A man walks past the Silver State Relief medical marijuana dispensary in Sparks, Nev., Friday, July 31, 2015, just after it became the first in the state to start selling medical pot legally. 

Municipalities don’t all act alike.

And those in Northern Nevada sometimes act very differently than those in the south.

Maybe that’s why, as Las Vegas and Clark County governments openly revealed the names of medical pot businesses last year, the city of Sparks has not.

In an attempt to get those names, the Reno-Gazette Journal has sued Sparks.

Reporter Chanelle Bessette has been covering the industry for the newspaper. She told KNPR's State of Nevada that Sparks is the only municipality that has taken that stance. 

The city's stance is business information collected on a state level has been largely confidential and that should apply to the city, Bessette said. 

"Even though they're the only ones who seem to be taking that approach in the state of Nevada," she pointed out. "Sparks is just trying to provide confidentiality in a way that we at the RGJ don't believe is warranted"

Sparks was home to the state's first medical marijuana dispensary. There are also a couple of cultivation operations and testing labs, according to Bessette. 

She said the newspaper has been able to find out the information on its own, but it's the principal of the city not being transparent that is behind the lawsuit. 

"As far as we can tell, this is the only industry that has been given the special treatment of shielding identities of who is involved," she said. 

Support comes from

Bessette said the medical marijuana industry, and possibly the legalization of recreational marijuana next year, will create a huge cash-only business, and it is appropriate for people to know who owns those businesses. 

"What we really want to do is get ahead of the curve and make sure this information is public from the get-go," she said.

Guests

Chanelle Bessette, reporter, Reno Gazette-Journal

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