City council approves permits for medical marijuana growing facility, dispensary

City Council 3/11

On Monday, Stillwater City Council approved Specific Use Permits to a medical marijuana growing facility and dispensary. 

The Stillwater City Council approved a Specific Use Permit 3-1 for a medical marijuana growing facility and dispensary inside Stillwater city limits on Monday.

The Stillwater Planning Commission already approved Specific Use Permits for both businesses.

Assistant City Manager Paula Dennison explained the Specific Use Permit.

“The city council is the final deciding body, and it’s sort of like an additional step of making sure all the neighbors know what’s fixing to happen on a piece of property because it may not exactly fit in with everything else that’s going on around that property,” Dennison said. “One of the things about the Specific Use Permit, unlike an ordinance, once the council acts on it, it is effective right then. It doesn’t have to have the multiple meetings and be published in the newspaper.”

About 50 people attended the Planning Commision's meeting. Public comments were allowed in both public hearings, but no one commented. It was a quick vote with no discussion.

Vice Mayor Darlington was not in attendance because she is out of the country. Mayor William Joyce and Councilors Amy Dzialowski and Alane Zannotti voted to approve the Special Use Permit. Councilor John Wedlake voted against the permit.

Councilman Wedlake has been opposed to having medical marijuana dispensaries in Stillwater since the beginning.

“If you go back and look at the other nine SUPs for medical marijuana dispensaries, I voted no on each one of those as well,” Wedlake said. “This vote stems mainly from my position as a physician and my stance that medical marijuana does not have any medical indication right now due to lack of research.”

Councilwoman Zannotti voted to approve the Specific Use Permits because it’s what the city needs to keep up with the state statutes.

“We’ve got to make sure that we ensure that we are upholding the state law,” Zannotti said. “So, what we’ve done is zoned what’s appropriate for where the dispensary is and where you actually grow it.”

Stillwater resident Michelle Charles thinks the city might be getting too many dispensaries for the number of citizens it has.

“In terms of the dispensaries, I don’t really have a problem with them,” Charles said. “I think we are getting a lot of them. We’ve already got at least six, I think, that are up and running and we’ve got a couple more in the works … When you look at the number of people who have their cards and are able to buy the product in a town of Stillwater’s size, it does make you wonder how many we actually need. I think there is going to be a shake-out. I don’t think we are going to have all of them forever.”