Cities, counties begin dialogue on zoning, other details of medical marijuana

Here’s something Tulsans might not know about State Question 788: It gives cities the authority to allow medical marijuana license holders and caregivers to have more marijuana than set forth in the referendum.

But don’t expect that to happen.

Mayor G.T. Bynum said he and his staff are beginning to explore the implications of the initiative, which will become law July 26.

“I have asked our community development and policy team to research best practices around the country,” Bynum said. “Once we have compiled those, I will discuss the matter with my colleagues on the City Council.

“Unless we determine a compelling reason to do otherwise, the city of Tulsa will operate under the voter-approved guidelines established in State Question 788.”

The only other language in the referendum that mentions cities or municipalities pertains to zoning requirements for retail marijuana establishments.

No city or municipality “may unduly change or restrict” zoning regulations to prevent a retail marijuana shop from opening, SQ 788 states, and such shops cannot be within 1,000 feet of a public or private school entrance.

Such “spacing requirements,” as they are commonly called, are not unusual in zoning codes. In Tulsa, for example, a liquor store must be at least three hundred feet from another liquor store and cannot be within 300 feet of a plasma center, bail bondsman, pawn shop or day labor center.

Susan Miller is manager of the Land Development Services department for the Indian Nations Council of Governments, which provides staffing services for the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission. She said some people have argued retail medical marijuana shops should be treated like a pharmacy, which can be built anywhere in commercially

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