The Coldwater Planning Commission was not ready Monday to tackle an ordinance to zone recreational marijuana in the city.
Drafted by city Attorney Megan Angel and planner Dean Walrack the ordinance creates a framework under the state law which would require those getting licenses to meet state standards.
The city would require Special Use Permits only in the D-2 Heavy Industrial Districts. It follows state law and requires a 1,000 foot setback from preschools and schools, but also adds a 500 foot set back from all residential zone properties.
Rebecca Russell, one of several hoping to obtain licenses, said they were concerned about limiting retail sales to industrial areas.
“That’s a good idea for farming or processing,” she said. “We want to keep them away from homes. We are moms, too.”
For sales “we want to keep them conservative, safe retail space where people can come and discreetly buy their medication,” she said.
She suggested the area around U.S. 12 and I-69 as a good location.
Under the new laws, the state is no longer accepting application for new licenses for medical marijuana sale location. Both medical and recreational are expected to buy from the same licensed premises.
“Everyone is concerned about safety” in the remote industrial zones, Russell explained.
“It’s going to be local people, local moms running a retail marijuana establishment,” she said.
Not a supporter herself of marijuana use, First Ward Councilwoman Emily Rissman ran a poll online to try to assess community concerns. Her straw poll had 503 responses with “59 percent saying they would like to see marijuana establishments located in our retail area located near I-69 on U.S. 12.”
Rissman said comments suggested they wanted them near where they did their shopping.
Commissioner and Chief Assistant Prosecutor Zack Stempien suggested the city might not want to allow any licenses.
City Manager Keith Baker agreed the Planning Commission could vote not to have an ordinance, but the city council had asked for one. The council took the action because city voters — by 52 percent to 48 percent — approved the statewide measure.
Under the state law, a small number of voters could force a citywide referendum if the city turns down licencing.
The ordnance also establishes a $5,000 annual fee intended to defray the costs of administering and enforcing the ordinance. Angel said that would be high in the first year, but less in future years. She suggested the money be put in escrow and the unused portion returned.
Also a concern is large greenhouses under Class C with 2,000 plants. Should the city limit those because of problems with glow causing light pollution in the city during the winter.
It was suggested the commissioners read in detail the proposed ordinance to be discussed at a future meeting.