A Havre City Council committee voted 3-1 Tuesday to recommend the council pass a resolution imposing a six-month ban on creating new medical marijuana grow operations or expanding existing operations. Planning and Development Committee member Andrew Brekke was the sole vote against, following a discussion in which the three who approved the motion, chair Janet Trethewey and committee members Allen “Woody” Woodwick and Pam Hillery, argued in favor of grandfathering in existing operations while prohibiting their expansion during the moratorium. In another motion, the committee recommended the council approve changing city code to ban the sale of medical marijuana by transient or itinerant vendors. The committee upped the length of the proposed ban on new and expansion of existing marijuana grow operations from 90 days to six months, with the idea the ban could be extended another six months to keep it in place until the state Legislature can take action on the issue. A major discussion during the meeting was whether existing grow operations should be grandfathered in on the ban or if the ban should include existing operations. Trethewey, chair of the committee, said she believed the language that grandfathered in existing operations should remain. “I want to leave it in,” she said, to the agreement of council member Hillery. Mayor Tim Solomon had spoken in favor of the committee eliminating language that grandfathered in the existing operations. But council chair Woodwick disagreed. “I personally don’t want to see everything ripped up, rooted out and run off and start the legal process because I do firmly believe the city will be taken to court,” he said. Represent ing the ci ty, Jennifer Forsythe of the law firm Bosch, Kuhr, Dugdale, Martin and Kaze also told the committee that in order to ban existing operations, that probably should be specifically written into the proposal. The committee agreed to use a second potential ordinance to recommend rather than the first presented. Havre Director of Public Works Dave Peterson said that ordinance, which prohibited variances and conditional use permits rather than dealing directly with marijuana, would have limited growth in the city by preventing actions other than marijuana. That was an issue with an ordinance recommended to be passed at the last meeting of the full City Council, resulting in the ordinance being sent back to the committee to be reviewed and rewritten. The proposed ordinance now will go to the council for review and to schedule a public meeting on the topic before it is voted upon on first reading, possibly at the council's first May meeting.
Panel would ban new medical marijuana facilities
Council will be asked to impose 6-month freeze
Published: Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
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