Nov. 27—The Decatur City Council must act by early December on medical marijuana dispensaries if potential operators are to meet a year-end state deadline for applications, and a 1,000-foot buffer initially proposed between dispensaries and other property uses looms as a hurdle.
City Attorney Herman Marks said last week the council would have to pass a proposed ordinance soon enough to give anyone who wants to have a dispensary in the city time to find a location before applying with the state.
Applications have to be submitted before the Dec. 30 deadline to the Alabama Cannabis Commission, which will approve no more than 37 dispensaries throughout the state. As of Friday, the state has received 239 applications for dispensaries, the commission website says.
Alabama was the 37th state to approve medical marijuana when it adopted a law last year, although marijuana — whether recreational or medicinal — remains illegal under federal law. Under federal law it is a Schedule 1 drug — like LSD or heroin — but federal enforcement has eroded since about 2013, clearing the way for states to legalize marijuana possession and sale.
Marks presented a proposed ordinance at last week’s meeting for a first reading, but the council wants to