Lead finalizes medical cannabis ordinances

Courtesy photo

LEAD — Medical marijuana businesses will not be required to be set back 100 feet or more from churches within Lead’s business district.

On Monday Lead City Commissioners put the finishing touches on ordinances that will govern how medical marijuana businesses operate in town and where they can set up shop. The city of Lead plans to offer unlimited licenses for dispensaries, cultivation, testing and other medical marijuana enterprises in town, at a cost of $5,000 each. Those businesses may only operate within the city’s commercial and industrial zone. The original ordinance required the businesses to be at least 100 feet away from churches, but Lead City Commissioners expressed concern that the setback would severely limit where medical marijuana establishments could set up shop in town.

“How many businesses will actually be able to open up, because there are so many churches on our Lead Main Street,” Commissioner Kayla Klein said. “Not that that’s a bad thing, but how many businesses will actually be able to open? One hundred feet is quite a lot.”

Currently there are five churches on Lead’s Main Street, Lead Mayor Ron Everett said. A church is defined as a building that is open to the general public for attendance at regularly held religious services. According to the ordinance definition, those services must be held at least weekly, 52 weeks out of the year.

Lead City Attorney Tim Johns told commissioners that the new law makes exceptions for residences located within commercial districts. He further advised commissioners that they could extend those exceptions to churches. Under the new law, a medical marijuana business must be at least 100 feet away from residences, except when the residence is located within a commercial district.

The new ordinance also requires medical marijuana businesses to be at least 1,000 feet from a school zone. This is the same setback requirement as the state law sets forth for medical cannabis.

Although the new ordinances offer unlimited licenses, Lead Mayor Ron Everett issued a reminder that all license applications must be approved by the city and the state.

Everett reported that the commission will be drafting a license application for commission review and approval, possibly by the next commission meeting Nov. 1.

Lead City Ordinances 1080-21 and 1081-21, which govern how medical cannabis businesses will operate in the city and where they can set up shop, is available for viewing on the city’s website at www.cityoflead.com. The ordinances will go into effect 20 days after publication in the city’s legal newspaper, the Black Hills Pioneer.

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