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Monroe zones for recreational marijuana
MONROE — Months after the City Council put its foot down against recreational marijuana in town, the council unanimously approved zoning regulations for processors and producers to locate in a few industrial areas within city limits.
The deep north end of the Fryelands industrial area off of Tye Street is one of the few places marijuana producers and processors could locate.
A small part of U.S. 2 between Chain Lake Road and Woods Creek Road is wide open to marijuana retailers on the map, as is a large area extenuating north between Chain Lake and Woods Creek. The contested area in East Monroe, owned by Heritage Baptist Church, also is allowed to have a marijuana retailer under the zoning guidelines.
All residential areas and downtown are off-limits to marijuana businesses in the zoning rules.
The move to zone marijuana was characterized by city officials as a way to acknowledge voters passage of Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana production and sale to people over 21.
The council passed the marijuana zoning regulations 6-0 last week at its Aug. 12 meeting.
The regulations are meant to be permanent.
The city’s prior zoning regulations adopted in late 2012 were an interim step prohibiting marijuana outfits. The interim regulations were due to expire Aug. 23 if no action took place.
No one spoke at the last public hearing regarding the ordinance on July 22. There also were no public comments at the Aug. 12 meeting.
In February, people largely spoke out against marijuana stores in town, and the council unanimously prohibited recreational marijuana outfits.
Some council members said at the time it was their duty to uphold state and federal law.
“Permanently adopting these regulations will basically give us the basis we need for permanent control of the zoning aspect,” city planning director Paul Popelka told the City Council last week.
Councilman Kevin Hanford asked Popelka if adopting the ordinance was the city’s form of a “safety net” for the recreational marijuana issue, should they choose to outright ban it in the future. Propelka said that is correct.
“The zoning is based on pretty solid state law,” Propelka said.
The city writes in its ordinance that while it is zoning for marijuana, it has no intent to run afoul of federal law, which classifies marijuana as illegal.
The map largely follows state-regulated buffer zones that prohibit marijuana-related facilities within 1,000 feet from daycares, parks, schools and other places where children may gather.

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