NILES — Rules for medical marijuana businesses in Niles could possibly scuttle the proposal for a dispensary at the historic former post office downtown.
That and other details emerged Monday night as city council members got their first look at two proposed ordinances.
One spells out state and local rules for the types of medical marijuana businesses and how they can operate. The other one details local zoning rules for such businesses.
City officials have been drafting the rules since the council decided earlier this year to opt in to Michigan’s new commercial structure for medical marijuana.
Any dispensary wanting to locate downtown could “run into some difficulties” because of state law, said Community Development Director Sanya Vitale, who presented the proposed ordinances to the council.
The law prohibits a marijuana facility within 1,000 feet of a school or library. The location of the Niles District Library at Main and Seventh streets “takes out a good swath of the downtown” for a potential provisioning center, or dispensary, she said.
A thousand feet is roughly the length of three football fields.
A large tobacco retailer offered last spring to purchase the old post office at Main and Fourth streets, with the idea of using it as a medical marijuana dispensary. The proposal has been in limbo pending the city’s adoption of medical marijuana ordinances, and also after a possible alternative use for the site was pitched by a housing developer.
Council member Tim Skalla asked if state law might change to shorten that thousand-foot distance.
Vitale said it’s a possibility, and if it does, the ordinance could be amended.
Proposed rules would also limit the number of dispensaries in the