While nothing yet official is in place, steps were taken to reach closer to a final ordinance establishing regulation of medicinal marijuana dispensaries within Lakeview town limits during a work session by Lakeview Town Council on Tuesday, Aug. 11.
The council has until May of 2015 following implementation of a one-year moratorium to decide on how best to regulate the time, manner and place dispensaries can operate within town limits or consider an outright ban. Following the moratorium approval and discussions amongst the council during previous meetings, town attorney John Bogardus was asked to create a preliminary draft ordinance, which was presented during the meeting.
All of the requirements in the ordinance are still up for discussion and alteration, the draft being refined towards a final ordinance to vote on for approval. Among the items struck from the initial draft was the decision to remove churches from the list of areas dispensaries must be located a specific distance away from, citing the issue of an abundance of church locations potentially making it impossible to build a dispensary within town limits capable of being 1,000 feet away from a church.
Also noted was that the ordinance mandates closure of dispensaries on Sundays, which largely removes a which largely removes a conflict of interest in dispensaries being open during or immediately following church services. A 1,000 foot-rule is still planned in the ordinance draft covering parks, schools and daycare facilities.
Additional concerns were raised over screening of employees, background checks, licensure and inspections.
Much of the debate was also focused on taxes. Bogardus raised great concern of the precedent to be set if the Town began taxing one specific product or business, determining that it could be challenged in court as unreasonable. The recommendation made was for the state to tax medicinal marijuana per the current statute, and should recreational marijuana be passed on the November ballot then consider a separate ordinance to tax recreational use.
A work session was again planned for Tuesday, Sept. 9 at Town Hall at 3 p.m. to further discuss refining the draft ordinance to regulate medicinal marijuana.