Temporarily banning the sale of cannabis in town is only one step toward allowing storefront sales after recreational use is made legal nationally, Creston Town Council decided at last week’s meeting.
At a previous Committee of the Whole meeting, Ross Beddoes, director of municipal services, reported that communities faced a potential glitch that could lead to retail marijuana shops in unwanted locations. Businesses selling, or planning to sell, marijuana, when the practice is legalized, could potentially be grandfathered and protected from zoning changes.
Council is now taking steps to ensure that it keeps complete control of where storefront sales of cannabis can take place after the planned October federal legalization date.
“We as a Council have heard through our extensive citizens’ survey that residents support cannabis sales in town, but that they want restrictions in the number of operations and their locations,” Mayor Ron Toyota said. “We do not want to be forcing residents to go out of town do shop for legal products. Council is very grateful to our staff for taking this issue on more than a year ago, doing research, conducting the survey and preparing bylaws.
With a stated purpose “To temporarily prohibit the retail or other sale of cannabis, and similar plants, products or derivative; and the growing or production of cannabis or similar plants, products or derivatives, as per Council direction,” Council passed two readings a Zoning Amendment Bylaw, which paves the way for a public hearing at an upcoming council meeting.
When asked about a recently opened cannabis paraphernalia shop on Canyon Street, Toyota said that the operator has a business license, but has also been informed that the license will have no effect on any future application to sell marijuana products.
Town staff have been working on a complete updating of zoning bylaws, which Council will be considering over the summer. Those bylaws will include detailed restrictions, including where cannabis can be sold within Town limits after it is legalized at the federal level.