MISSOULA – Regulations around the density and energy use of the marijuana industry in Missoula’s urban areas have been in place now for a year, but similar businesses in the county’s rural reaches have had no such rules.
But that could soon change as Missoula County considers new zoning that would place certain rules on rural marijuana dispensaries and cultivators, including the distance between each storefront and the amount of energy used.
Like the urban area, the changes would require a distance of 500 feet between marijuana dispensaries. Such rules are intended to keep dispensaries from over-saturating rural commercial districts in Seeley Lake, Lolo and Bonner.
“The goal of that is to create and maintain diversity in commercial areas,” said Karen Hughes, director of county planning. “We already have these zoning regulations in the zoning areas. This would apply countywide, including unzoned areas.”
The county will also consider the amount of energy marijuana cultivators use. Such operations consume massive amounts of energy, far outpacing the energy consumed in other sectors including fast food restaurants, paper manufacturing and metals.
As proposed, the ordinance would require cannabis cultivators to use grow lights selected from the Design Lights Consortium Qualified Product List or shift to 100% clean