Mayor Keith Gaskin broke a tie vote Tuesday to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in certain zones without Planning Commission approval. Grow houses in certain zones were also freed from commission approval on a 4-2 vote.
The council had previously decided that any medical marijuana-related business had to first come before the Planning Commission, then come to the council for final approval.
Building Official Ken Wiegel told the council that the Planning Commission voted to allow dispensaries “by right” — meaning without the need for specific approval beyond obtaining necessary local and state permits — in several zones: C1, which is neighborhood commercial; C2, community commercial; and C3, highway commercial.
“The feeling I got from the commission was that they didn’t want to hear these dispensary requests over and over,” Wiegel said.
City Attorney Jeff Turnage also chimed in.
“The commission thought drug stores are allowed in those districts by right,” Turnage said. “The idea was you don’t require a drug store to come and ask permission. The idea was to treat them the same as a drug store.”
“What they’re saying is people need to work within the guidelines instead of reassessing it each