Fearing crossfire from state/federal conflicts, Nevada cities kick MMJ discussions down the road

Photo Courtesy Torben Hansen via Flickr

Photo Courtesy Torben Hansen via Flickr

Following in the footsteps of Las Vegas, the Reno City Council decided last week to delay any vote or conversation on implementing medical marijuana until next year.

Though the Las Vegas City Council ultimately took a harsher route in placing a six-month moratorium on any type of medical marijuana business (Reno only voted to reconvene six months down the road), the two largest counties in Nevada have decided to wait until early 2014 to set local ordinances governing the legal buying and selling of medical marijuana.

At this point, I think (we need) a wait and see approach,” Reno City Councilwoman Neoma Jardon told RGJ reporter Emerson Marcus.

News of the delays, especially in Las Vegas, attracted some criticism from medical marijuana activists, but essentially puts both cities on the same path as the state towards an April 1, 2014 deadline to figure out any additional medical marijuana guidelines, as set forth in a bill passed last legislative session.

A disagreement over the delay is why Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus voted against the Council’s decision to reconvene. Brekhus, who was the only ‘no’ vote, said she was wary of any sort of vote to limit medical marijuana due to the “muddled grounds” between federal, state and local laws.

While Brekhus said she personally sees the merits of medical marijuana, she would rather wait and see how state regulators shape medical marijuana policy, rather than forge ahead and deal with the consequences of being caught between state and federal laws.

“I think it’s really getting into a muddled area between federal and state authorities and cities are caught in the middle,” she said.

Interesting design choice in the RGJ

Those of you who know me know that I love newspaper design, and that I check Newseum just about everyday for newspaper front pages across the state of Nevada. Usually, I love the design of the Las Vegas Sun, dislike what the LVRJ does, and go back and forth on the Reno Gazette-Journal. While the RGJ’s regular coverage can be slightly lacking in the polish afforded to more major markets, they are extremely good at covering and presenting big events, such as the Caughlin Ranch Fire last year.

But on a slower news day, it can be hard to create an attention grabbing front page just because the designer doesn’t have the amazing visual image like a giant, 1000-acre fire. That brings me to today’s front page of the RGJ:

Not a bad A1. There’s pretty diverse news content, which for the most part is unique and more interesting than shit ripped from AP the day before, which the LVRJ always does. But I’m curious as to the massive headline block for Brian Duggan’s main story on a plan to revise an old RTC center downtown. I like the initiative of playing up a story which could of easily been buried in a rail or inside, because it can have a bigger impact. But the art along with the story is extremely boring- it’s just a building. This is an occasion where an illustration may have served them better, or just some alternative way of telling the story. People aren’t going to be attracted to a boring looking building- they’re attracted to uniqueness, to visually attractive elements.

Hopefully as the RGJ continues to grow in it’s news coverage, it will be able to take on these challenges and make all of the paper’s elements excellent, rather than just writing or photography.