The City Council Committee charged with handling zoning and planning again discussed the medical marijuana issue Tuesday night and decided to recommend to the full council that a 90 day moratorium be placed on growers and dispensers of medical marijuana until they could more fully develop a plan.
Suggestions from the audience included an outright ban of medical marijuana and related business in both Havre and Hill County. Committee chairwoman Janet Tretheway suggested a big license fee of between a $1,000 and $5,000 that could be given to someone like a law enforcement agency to monitor and inspect these marijuana businesses. Implementing a business license fee for all businesses has been suggested with a nominal fee paid by everyone so city and county officials would at least know what kind of businesses were operating in city limits and where they were located. Restricting marijuana businesses to specific zoning areas has also been suggested. Havre’s zoning laws presently do restrict business from operating from many residential areas but the problem is that there are currently scores of home businesses operating in violation of present law and the city has done nothing to enforce these laws. Growers had told this committee at earlier meetings that they were “legitimate” and just want to be able to do business like every other business. People attending these meeting have also voiced concerns about the safety of their children if these businesses are allowed in residential areas, the likelihood that illegal sales of marijuana will increase to high school kids, there could be a decrease in their home value if a perspective buyer knew a marijuana business was in the neighborhood. One thing that seems apparent is that under the current State of Montana Department of Health there is virtually no oversight or regulation of these grow operations. There is not an adequate policy in place to regulate this “industry”
Considering the fact that there is two distinct sides to this issue what do our readers think can be done to make everyone reasonably happy. We would like to hear your ideas. We have heard plenty from the growers and users that think this is all a wonderful drug with many benefits and the status quo is wonderful. We have also heard plenty from the folk that think allowing this to continue is a travesty of justice and not what the voters intended when they passed this law. We understand that there are two sides to every issue but what can be reasonably done to end this current problem? We would like to hear some concrete well thought out suggestions as to what a possible solution would be to this problem that both sides could live with. Some of your local city council people do read this blog. Let’s give them some ideas
The committee’s recommendation for a 90 day moratorium will be made and voted upon by the full council at next Monday’s council meeting at 7pm in city hall