Borough Marijuana Task Force Decides on Zoning for Commercial Marijuana Business

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

The Borough Marijuana Task Force met Tuesday night and decided to permit commercial marijuana growth in certain residential districts. The motion was to allow residential cultivation permits with a conditional use permit in RR, RR1 and RR2, which are rural areas, and prohibit it in R1, R2, and R3.

Jonathan Strong, who sits on both the city’s marijuana advisory committee and the task force, said he couldn’t support marijuana business within residential districts. He gave one reason that tapped into his experience as a substance abuse counselor.

“Allowing the commercial cultivation of marijuana in residential zoned districts would be a trigger for those people in recovery from drugs and alcohol. A person in recovery can usually choose to stay away from the people, places, and things that can be a trigger for them that could lead to relapse, but if that person in recovery lived next door to or in the neighborhood of a commercial cultivation business, their only choice would be to move.”

He also said marijuana production emits a smell which can be a trigger.

Task-force member Nick Noxell provided a counterargument.

“People are alcoholics and they have to go to Safeway and they walk by the liquor store every day. There’s people who are pill addicts and there’s a pharmacy at Safeway and Wal-Mart. So, what’s the real difference there? I’m just not seeing it. The way that I look at it is you’re going to cover up that smell with that carbon filter. Every grow operation I’ve ever seen has a carbon filter.”

The motion to allow residential cultivation permits carried 5 – 2 with Jonathan Strong and Dan Rohrer against.

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