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Zoning proposal would restrict Havre med marijuana facilities

 

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The city of Havre is looking at the idea of allowing medical marijuana growing facilities and dispensaries in commercial areas.

Members of the city's Planning and Zoning Committee said their proposal would limit the number of facilities in the city but would enable those who are entitled to medical marijuana to get it.

The proposal is designed after a law recently enacted in Bozeman.

Under the proposal, medical marijuana facilities would be allowed in commercial zones, which include a wide swath of the city along U.S. Highway 2.

As in Bozeman, one dispensary would be licensed for every 2,000 residents. In Havre, this would mean five dispensers are allowed. There would be no limit on growing facilities.

Dispensers could not be opened within 1,000 feet of the schools and day care centers.

Under the plan, existing facilities would not be grandfathered, said committee Chair Janet Trethewey. Licenses would be issued on a first-come, first-served basis, she said. Four businesses which have already signed up with the city would be given preference, she said.

Committee members said they were not certain if the anti-grandfathering provision would be upheld in court, so they asked lawyers to check it out.

The medical marijuana zoning would be part of a revamp of the city's zoning laws, Trethewey said.

The committee Tuesday night asked its attorneys to draw up legislation based on the Bozeman law. The lawyers will come up with a proposal next month, and the committee will tweak it before it goes to the full City Council.

Committee members said they were confident that the legislation would not result in a proliferation of medical marijuana shops in the city's business district.

"When you go to Butte, you can see six or eight medical marijuana dispensaries on Harrison Street," Trethewey said. "We don't want that."

Committee member Andrew Brekke said he favored a more restrictive ordinance, but agreed to Trethewey's proposal as a compromise.

But he said he was concerned at the explosion of marijuana use, a trend he said was to blame at least in part on liberal medical marijuana rules.

At tailgate parties prior to Montana State University football games in Bozeman, he said, "they don't serve alcohol, they serve marijuana."

Fellow committee member Pam Hillery said she might be open to legalization of marijuana, but still found it offensive to see widespread disregard for anti-marijuana laws.

"In Missoula, you can see it everywhere, you can feel it," she said.

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(Join the Havre Daily News Facebook page to keep up on local news at http://www.facebook.com/havredailynews.)

The city of Havre is looking at the idea of allowing medical marijuana growing facilities and dispensaries in commercial areas.

Members of the city's Planning and Zoning Committee said their proposal would limit the number of facilities in the city but would enable those who are entitled to medical marijuana to get it.

The proposal is designed after a law recently enacted in Bozeman.

Under the proposal, medical marijuana facilities would be allowed in commercial zones, which include a wide swath of the city along U.S. Highway 2.

As in Bozeman, one dispensary would be licensed for every 2,000 residents. In Havre, this would mean five dispensers are allowed. There would be no limit on growing facilities.

Dispensers could not be opened within 1,000 feet of the schools and day care centers.

Under the plan, existing facilities would not be grandfathered, said committee Chair Janet Trethewey. Licenses would be issued on a first-come, first-served basis, she said. Four businesses which have already signed up with the city would be given preference, she said.

Committee members said they were not certain if the anti-grandfathering provision would be upheld in court, so they asked lawyers to check it out.

The medical marijuana zoning would be part of a revamp of the city's zoning laws, Trethewey said.

The committee Tuesday night asked its attorneys to draw up legislation based on the Bozeman law. The lawyers will come up with a proposal next month, and the committee will tweak it before it goes to the full City Council.

Committee members said they were confident that the legislation would not result in a proliferation of medical marijuana shops in the city's business district.

"When you go to Butte, you can see six or eight medical marijuana dispensaries on Harrison Street," Trethewey said. "We don't want that."

Committee member Andrew Brekke said he favored a more restrictive ordinance, but agreed to Trethewey's proposal as a compromise.

But he said he was concerned at the explosion of marijuana use, a trend he said was to blame at least in part on liberal medical marijuana rules.

At tailgate parties prior to Montana State University football games in Bozeman, he said, "they don't serve alcohol, they serve marijuana."

Fellow committee member Pam Hillery said she might be open to legalization of marijuana, but still found it offensive to see widespread disregard for anti-marijuana laws.

"In Missoula, you can see it everywhere, you can feel it," she said.

———

(Join the Havre Daily News Facebook page to keep up on local news at http://www.facebook.com/havredailynews.)

 
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