The local city council has not yet made a final decision on how it will treat the cannabis business, which as approved by voters, will be allowed at the beginning of the new year. It appears the majority of the council favors the growth and distribution industries, while none of the council wants the community to be burdened by cannabis dispensaries.
The council also has to determine how it will regulate personal grows of marijuana, also allowed by law as of Jan. 1, 2018. The city wants to hear from the public to see how residents feel about the issues, but despite the fact that time is growing short to implement any rules, no date has yet been set for a public workshop. The problem apparently stems from a couple of differing views on the issue, with HdL Companies on one side and the city attorney on the other. In the middle is the city, attempting to meet a bunch of deadlines in order to be prepared for a couple of laws—some parts of which keep changing—that take place in less than three months. HdL Companies, scheduled to facilitate the public workshop, believes the city has a more flexible schedule than previously thought. In that context, the public workshop can be delayed until at least the end of this month. The city attorney notes timelines for approving and implementing local ordinances, and hopes the city will act on a faster track. According to City Manager Dr. Kindon Meik, the public cannabis workshop was previously scheduled for about Oct. 25. Now, all parties are attempting to set the workshop for an earlier date and the council may have to address it at its regular meeting next Tuesday. Here’s a timeline outlining why: the council needs to determine how to proceed in order for the city to formulate ordinances that will regulate the cannabis industry—both for local grow and commercial business; the ordinances have to be heard in a pair of public hearings, one by the planning commission and one by the city council. Following a second reading by the council, the ordinance(s) will go into effect after 30 days. The council would be required to hold its second reading by its Nov. 27 meeting in order for that to happen. With direction sought from the council next week during a regular session, that leaves just the Oct. 23 and the Nov. 13 meeting to take additional actions and pack in a pair of public hearings, plus the public workshop. Dr. Meik hopes the pathway will be made more clear by next Tuesday’s council meeting, which will be held at 5:30 in the council chambers next to the library on Chittenden Ave.