Middletown council takes first steps to permitting marijuana businesses

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Two weeks after Middletown City Council said no to extending a moratorium on recreational use marijuana businesses, the city is one step closer to permitting dispensaries and to repeal of the 2017 ban on medical marijuana dispensaries.

At Tuesday’s meeting, council had first reading of the repeal and moved forward with legislation establishing five dispensaries, one per 10,000 people, in the city. The number remains up in the air and could be be revisited before second reading in July and consideration of adoption.

The ordinance does not distinguish between medical use and adult (recreational) use, said Brodi Conover, Middletown assistant law director.

Conover said that number can change at the direction of council, but by law there are restrictions on where the businesses can be located such as within 500 feet of a church, a park, or school.

Other state rules have yet to be hammered out on locations of medical and recreational businesses, but this legislation is a proposed cap on total the number, he said.

There was not action taken, but council members did express their thoughts on cap they are comfortable with.

“Right now four is where I am at, ” said Councilman Zack Ferrell

Councilman Paul Horn said his suggestion is to reduce the number to three. He said by law, “future city councils can add but can not subtract.”

Councilwoman Jennifer Carter said she doesn’t want to see any marijuana businesses in the city.

“I would like to see none,” Carter said.

Mayor Elizabeth Slamka asked for results from an online city survey about marijuana businesses, “So that we have some feedback from the residents about specifically dispensaries.”

Slamka noted in early discussions, the number was two, one on each side of the city, but she is thinking now three is possible.

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