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I-Team: Pot Growing Operations Expected in Las Vegas | News

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I-Team: Pot Growing Operations Expected in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- Federal laws forbid marijuana from crossing state lines which means Nevada's new medical marijuana dispensaries will have to create a homegrown supply. Colorado weed barons are already looking to set up massive -- and newly legal -- grow operations in Nevada.

While the neighborhood dispensaries are the public face of the marijuana business, the I-Team got a rare look inside at the cultivation backbone of this new industry.

A 50,000 square foot warehouse holds the latest crop of marijuana for MMJ America.

"It will come out in a vacuum sealed bag like this and the nugs will be perfectly cured, easily breakable but not too moist so you can smoke it and pretty much enjoy it," said Jacob Salazar, MMJ America co-owner.

His company is one of the Denver area's largest marijuana growers.

"I am 5'11. You can tell how tall this marijuana bud is right here. It has been growing indoors for five weeks and it still has three weeks left to go," Salazar said.

If MMJ America finds the right 50,000 square foot warehouse in Las Vegas, they will set up shop. Marijuana cultivators are particularly eyeing North Las Vegas' large amounts of vacant commercial real estate.

"We're excited about that. We are waiting for the rules to come out. They've seemed to have pushed it back a little. We're hoping the whole thing will evolve over the next six to eight months. By late 2014, or 2015, we expect to be in operation in Las Vegas, Nevada," said David Ross, MMJ America co-owner.

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If security is tight at pot shops, it's practically Fort Knox inside the grow operations. First off, they're in unmarked buildings with special ventilation to avoid it smelling like weed in the neighborhood. Each marijuana plant has to be radio-tagged and sealed in unmarked boxes before delivery. Nevada is expected to follow the same model.

"It's funny. Probably the rest of the country thinks that Nevada is so liberal because of the gaming. But in fact, they do dot the i's and cross the t's," said David Ross, MMJ America co-owner.

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Although federal rules prevent large out-of-state corporations from running pot growing businesses, these weed barons figure that when the feds loosen those rules, they'll retire on the millions they'll earn. They believe tobacco or pharmaceutical companies will buy them out to get into the weed business.