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City to accept written testimony until Friday

Marijuana dispensary land-use ordinance to be decided April 6

The City Council has decided to continue taking written testimony until Friday, March 20, before finally deciding on a land-use ordinance to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.

On Monday, March 16, Sandy City Council members continued to take testimony on proposed ordinance 2015-02, which would regulate medical marijuana dispensaries through conditional-use permits to C-2 commercial zones and I-2 industrial zones excluding a 1,000 foot buffer around K-12 public schools, preschools and commercial day cares.

The city has banned any business not in compliance with the U.S. Controlled Substances Act from operating within city limits, but that ban is being challenged in court right now by Quality Control Group, a medical marijuana dispensary business hoping to open in Sandy.

The City Council was hoping to get this ordinance and other regulations in place prior to the end of the state-wide moratorium on May 1, should the ban be overturned.

However, on Monday, City Attorney David Doughman announced that the court won’t give an answer to the litigation until mid- to late-June. Therefore, the city’s ban will be in place through May, if not longer.

On Monday night, during the continuation of the public hearing, seven individuals presented their opinions on the topic.

Three people gave reasons for going forward with the regulations and the ban, including two local business owners, while four people presented reasons for opposing the regulations and the city-wide ban on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Councilor John Hamblin, who was appointed to a vacant position at the beginning of this year, said while he does understand arguments for the positive effects of medical marijuana, it is not something he’s not on board with yet.

“I just worry about that impacting the quality of life in our town and the safety as well,” Hamblin said.

Although the Council was expected to close the public hearing and make a decision Monday night, because of advice from Doughman, it decided to leave the record open and make the final decision at the Monday, April 6, meeting.

“I do think that will give adequate time for everyone to get information to us if they so wish,” said Mayor Bill King at Monday’s meeting.

The public is invited to submit written testimony until Friday, March 20. Testimony must be received at City Hall, 39250 Pioneer Blvd., by noon on that day. Letters and emails can be directed to City Manager Seth Atkinson or Planning Director Tracy Brown.

This ordinance will likely not be the end of dispensary regulation. The City Council is expected to consider an ordinance about health and safety after the land-use ordinance is passed. Those restrictions also are expected to be brought up at the April 6 meeting.