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City commission approves first reading of medical cannabis ordinances

The Madison City Commission has taken the first step in approving ordinances regarding zoning and licensing for medical cannabis establishments in the city.

During their meeting Monday, commissioners discussed the first reading of an ordinance adding cannabis dispensaries to the list of principal permitted uses in the city’s Highway Business zone.  The ordinance states that the city shall allow two cannabis establishments and states the required separation distances and other location requirements for them.  City Administrator Jameson Berreth said that each city can set the number of establishments it wants to allow.  

As far as licensing for cannabis establishments in the city, the city will require a new application fee of 15-hundred dollars and, after discussion, decided to amend the ordinance to set the annual fee for the license at one dollar per capita based on the city’s official census population.  This is also how the city’s convention center license fee is set.  

City Attorney David Jencks said that he recommended that the city offer the two licenses instead of one for legal reasons.

Police Chief Justin Meyer told commissioners that the definition of cannabis establishments included in the ordinance could allow for a cultivation facility to be located in the city, and he said that’s not something he thinks the city will want.

City Administrator Berreth told commissioners that the proposed zoning ordinance wouldn’t allow for cultivation, and City Attorney Jencks said that the definition within the ordinance could be amended if commissioners wanted to do so. Berreth suggested leaving the ordinance as it is until the state provides more guidance.

Commissioners approved the first reading of the two ordinances dealing with medical cannabis Monday.  City Finance Officer Sonya Wilt said that second reading of the two ordinances will be held at the commission’s next meeting on Tuesday, September 7th.  She said that the city needs to have it’s ordinances in effect by the end of September.  


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