City preparing ordinances, processes to host medical marijuana dispensary site

“We have had people express interest in becoming a dispensary,” Shawn Kessel, Dickinson city administrator, said. “The state, as far as I understand, is going to license eight different dispensaries in North Dakota and two grow operations.”

While there is a “robust state process” in place for becoming a licensed dispensary, the city is preparing its own ordinances for such a business.

“We are looking at a two-prong process,” Kessel said. “We’d issue a shared use permit to make sure the location is in the zoning district that the commission prefers, and we’d also issue a license on an annual basis to make sure there is compliance with regularity to local city ordinance.”

Discussions continue about where a dispensary would be located.

“There’s some differences of opinion with regard to exact location,” Kessel said. “One of the concerns of course is it is medical marijuana. There are a lot of preconceived notions about its use and the potential for abuse as this process rolls itself out, but there’s also the recognition that this is for medical uses and there may be a desire, depending on how much traffic is involved, to locate it in a retail area.”

He added, “It should be operated like a pharmacy.”

Another concern for the city is security, Kessel said.

“It’s still regulated from a federal perspective. Banking for these operations is difficult,” he said. “It’s a cash business. We’re concerned about security issues that might surround the facility itself and the neighboring facilities.”

The traffic such a business might generate is also a concern.

“We don’t know how much traffic will be produced by these dispensaries,” Kessel said. “We’re concerned about potential parking issues and other traffic flow pattern issues surrounding these facilities.”

It is the city’s role, Kessel explained, to make sure it

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