Mt. Pleasant approves medical marijuana facilities ordinance

After more than a year of studying and debating the issue, Mt. Pleasant city commissioners approved an ordinance Monday to allow medical marijuana businesses in the city.

The two ordinances will take effect in 30 days. One ordinance regulates the facilities and the approval process, while the second ordinance concerns zoning.

Both were approved on 6-1 votes, with Commissioner Tony Kulick voting no each time.

“I’ll be voting no on this issue,” he said. “I think it’s premature to be making these decisions now when recreational medical marijuana will be on the November ballot and God knows what the state is going to do with the rules for that. I think there’s too many grow facilities in the proposed ordinance. I think we should have maintained the 1,000-foot separation from campus. I would like to see separation of parks and churches. I cannot support the co-location of dispensaries in the industrial district. Thus far the state has only approved 15 licenses with a 500 backlog. There’s not enough applicants in my mind to be moving along with this. So I’ll be a ‘no’ vote.”

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The city will allow all five types of the facilities: An unlimited number of processing centers, secure transporters and safety testing; up to three provisioning centers (also known as dispensaries) and up to five 500-plant grow operations and a total of three grow operations for the 1,000-plant and 1,500-plant categories.

They will begin taking applications in October, and will decide in September how long the application period will be open.

Applicants must have Phase 1 approval from the state before they can apply in Mt. Pleasant.

Before the votes, commissioners again discussed some of the issues that they have struggled with all year: Buffer zones, the number of facilities, and the lottery drawing to determine

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