Marijuana

Each of the city council-appointed marijuana task force’s recommendations passed first reading on their way to becoming part of the city’s charter during the  council’s April 26 meeting.

The council also voted 5-3, also in first reading, to create a new medical-marijuana industry moratorium that would last for 12 months. The moratorium would prevent new grow operations, infused product manufacturers and dispensaries from opening for one year.

Council voted to approve a 12-plant limit in residential grows, no matter the number of occupants; zoning changes that would restrict manufacturing and grow operations from opening in commercial zones; and a buffer extension from 400 feet to 1,000 feet from sensitive areas, to include schools and drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities. Council also approved an ordinance that would allow police to pursue criminal charges in residential grow operations where there isn’t building code or plant-count compliance.

Councilor Larry Bagley, who served as chairman of the marijuana task force, told council his group was pressed for time and some topics they had been charged with addressing were not discussed — to include advertising and the impact of co-habitated businesses, such as gas stations and cannabis dispensaries. Bagley said those issues could be mitigated with an additional yearlong moratorium, which was also the recommendation from city staff.

The moratorium decision was met with hours of testimony, sometimes heated.

Councilors Keith King, Helen Collins and Bill Murray opposed a new moratorium, citing council’s commitment in November to resolve all issues by the expiration of the first moratorium, which ends May 25.

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Council will have to pass a second reading of the ordinances and the moratorium at its next meeting May 10.

The task force’s slide show about land-use ordinances and residential grows can be viewed here.

A slide show pertaining to the 12-month moratorium can be viewed here.

The moratorium ordinance can be viewed here.