Marijuana clone plants(Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP)
NEWARK – After months of debate and multiple versions of legislation, Newark City Council has approved laws to allow medical marijuana businesses in the city.
Zoning rules for medical marijuana cultivators, processors and dispensaries passed council unanimously Tuesday night. It was the conclusion of a months-long process to get rules about medical marijuana businesses in place.
In May, the city administration proposed a ban on dispensaries but it was tabled by council before a moratorium on the facilities was rejected in a 5-4 vote in June.
Councilman Mark Fraizer then spent months drafting zoning rules and license rules for all three types of medical marijuana business.
“I feel like we accomplished a lot here,” he said after the meeting. “Instead of passing a moratorium that just says we don’t know, we don’t feel comfortable, we did proactive legislation, established a framework for people to do business and encourages new businesses, new industries and opportunity in our community.”
Before a dispensary can open, it has to be approved by the Newark Board of Zoning Appeals, which would require owners to turn in business plans before having a public hearing.
The business would have to notify other property owners within 200 feet of the proposed location of the intent to open a dispensary.
The state has already prohibited dispensaries from being located within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground or public park. Newark’s law tacks on an additional 500 feet and includes addiction services providers.
Based on the 1,000 feet restriction, dispensaries would be allowed on North 21st Street between Deo and Catalina drives, West Main Street near Cherry Valley and Tamarack roads, Mount Vernon Road near Plaza Pizza