March 29, 2010

Great Falls, Montana Considers 3 Dispensary Options

March 29, 2010

The City of Great Falls in Montana is considering three options to regulate medical marijuana within city limits (click here). The City Planning & Community Development Department will choose from the following three options.

1. Ban dispensaries inside city limits. Many cities are doing this, due to the fact that getting CLEAR legislation passed at the state level is like waiting for coal to turn into diamonds. If dispensaries are banned, then people will continue to get their medicine the old fashioned way. Wouldn’t the city want to have it open and regulated, instead of in the shadows?

2. Extend a 90-day moratorium for up to one year, which is recommended by the city Fire and Police departments. To me, this is just slightly better than banning dispensaries all together. It will continue the grey areas, which law enforcement will continue to take advantage of.

3. Pass an ordinance proposed by city planners that would allow marijuana growing in industrial zones only, and would allow marijuana dispensaries in zones typically used by businesses. Marijuana dispensaries would be prohibited from locating within 300 feet of a school, day-care center, park, church, recreation center or government building. Marijuana growing and sales would not be allowed as a home occupation. These rules don’t seem unreasonable. Similar zoning has been passed in a few cities in California, and the sky never fell. City planners drafted it, not dispensary owners or law enforcement, so there doesn’t seem to be a heavy favor in either direction.

I was against the industrial growing provision at first, but when you really think about it, it could really benefit cities that have dilapidated industrial areas due to so many jobs going overseas. If every vacant industrial building in America was rented out to a medical grow op, not only would there be enough medicine to go around, but also cities would get a much needed boost in local revenue.

Regardless of which option is adopted, patients would still have the right to grow and use their medicine at their residence.

To see the official city document, and see when the Great Falls city council dates are, click here


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