MISSOULA — Metropolis planners will start writing an ordinance governing the sale of leisure marijuana in Missoula and the place such companies can find, hoping to have an ordinance in place by Jan. 1, when the sale of pot turns into authorized.
Missoula County voters final yr overwhelmingly handed a statewide poll measure that gave particular person counties the choice of accepting the sale and use of leisure marijuana. With the sale date quickly approaching, the town plans to undertake guidelines guiding the brand new business in accordance with state legislation.
“Our staff has been wanting into our personal rules in regard to how we’ve finished issues prior to now with medical marijuana companies, and taking a look at how different locations have responded to this type of laws,” mentioned metropolis planner Ben Brewer.
In line with metropolis officers, greater than 70 marijuana-related companies at the moment function within the Missoula metropolitan space. Of these, round 50 function medical marijuana dispensaries whereas 20 function as cultivators or fill different business wants.
Beneath state legislation, current medical marijuana companies that had a license previous to November 2020 can start promoting leisure marijuana on Jan. 1. Different enterprise licenses can be obtainable to most people for leisure gross sales on July 1.
To forestall any destructive impacts from the brand new business, the Metropolis Council on Wednesday directed metropolis planners to organize an ordinance amending the town’s zoning code to deal with the place a marijuana enterprise can function, from the retail finish to the cultivation and manufacturing finish.
Proposals round cultivation and manufacturing would outline a enterprise by the scale of its operation and place right into a sure classification, starting from artisan growers to full-scale manufacturing. The enterprise can be permitted in sure zoning districts primarily based upon that classification.
However retail gross sales can be permitted in all districts, although the proposed ordinance would prohibit dispensaries from finding inside 500 ft of a college or church. Nor may one dispensary sit inside 500 ft of one other dispensary.
The hope is to stop the clustering of pot retailers in any specific location.
“Our Hip Strip and downtown have already had a huge effect by shops coming in,” mentioned council member Gwen Jones. “Within the area of 12 to 18 months, we’re seeing an enormous change within the vibe downtown, with marijuana shops getting into and front-loading as medical previous to the January begin date for leisure.”
Jones want to see a buffer bigger than 500 ft. Beneath state legislation, the gap is measured from entry to entry.
“Proper now with the 500-foot buffer, for probably the most half, it might be each block. I feel that’s too shut,” Jones mentioned. “I need to disperse these throughout Missoula, and creating an even bigger buffer would create that incentive.”
Different measures is also included, equivalent to capping the variety of marijuana companies as an entire and limiting the variety of “frosted” home windows on any enterprise.
Guaranteeing the fitting finish of the business is situated in the fitting space can also be a aim of the proposed ordinance.
“A retail dispensary is best fitted to business areas alongside different retail companies,” mentioned metropolis planner Cassie Tripard. “But when they proceed to cluster, they’ll result in a scarcity of various makes use of in that specific neighborhood, effecting city type and a scarcity of different facilities.”
On a 9-1 vote, Metropolis Council members on Wednesday directed planning employees to organize the brand new ordinance and set a public listening to for November. The problem may also go earlier than the planning board and additional Metropolis Council evaluate with an anticipated adoption date set for Nov. 29.