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December 18, 2014

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Marijuana entrepreneurs rush to meet application deadline

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L.E. Baskow

Applicants gather to be processed as today is the last day to submit applications to the Las Vegas Department of Planning for medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation or production on Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

Medical Marijuana Applications Deadline

Applicants gather to be processed as today is the last day to submit applications to the Las Vegas Department of Planning for medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation or production on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Launch slideshow »

You will know them by the boxes they carry, because most don’t want to give their names.

Wanna-be medical marijuana sellers, growers and producers flooded the Las Vegas Development Services Building, 333 N. Rancho Road, on the last day to submit applications.

Some came with just minutes to spare before today’s 3 p.m. deadline.

Applicants went through two stages, planning on the first floor, then business licensing on the fourth floor.

A tight-lipped employee sat in the fourth-floor medical marijuana intake waiting room with a box full of three 4-inch-deep binders.

Another woman, who also wouldn’t give her name but said she was in real estate, dollied in three boxes of paperwork stacked atop each other representing three dispensaries. She wouldn’t give her name and said her partners didn’t want their names used, either.

The boxes said MedMen, the name of a medical marijuana consulting business.

She opened one box to show two thick binders full of all the paperwork a dispensary in Las Vegas requires.

Jay Brown, maybe the most politically connected attorney in the city, arrived with a box to match another box brought in earlier by an assistant.

At 2:20 p.m., with 40 minutes to go, three teams of wanna-bes showed up. One of them rolled the paperwork inside two large suitcases.

Brown said people aren’t waiting until the last minute to maintain secrecy. They’re doing it, he said, because the city’s application process “is much more complicated” than Clark County’s.

“That’s why you’re seeing a low turnout,” Brown said.

Case in point: Of 17 or 18 applications filed with the city Tuesday, 12 were rejected, said Flinn Fagg, Las Vegas planning director.

Some who applied forgot the city requires filing a state medical marijuana application with the city application. Clark County didn’t require that. Some forgot to get the fingerprints of every partner.

And then there were those who got the paperwork wrong or out of order.

A man and woman quickly threw open two binders, pulled out hundreds of documents, then started fitting them back into the three-ring binders in order.

Downstairs, at 2:49 p.m. Joey Vanas, whose box identified his group as Nevada Wellness Project, was one. Vanas is known for trying to restore historic Huntridge Theater and as president of downtown’s First Friday Foundation Las Vegas.

Nevada Wellness Project lists its partners as Nevada Wellness Project Holdings LLC and PANDACO HOLDING, LLC.

“It’s 2:59,” a man whispered.

At least two groups with applications hadn’t arrived. But their attorneys had already pulled numbers, which gave them a place in line. But the people with the documents had to get there before their number was called.

Suddenly, Brenda Gunsallus walked in with her documents. Brown, the attorney was waiting. She looked shaken. It was after 3 p.m., but Brown had pulled a ticket to give them a place in line.

“I think that was the worst thing I’ve ever done,” Gunsallus said. “But we did it.”

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