Editors note: This is the first of a two-part series covering Friday’s education session on Ardmore’s medical marijuana ordinance.

Now that Oklahoma has legalized the use of medical marijuana, cities across the state have made decisions about how much of a role they will play when it comes to the regulation and enforcement of the new law. Like many other communities, Ardmore has added a new ordinance dedicated entirely to medical marijuana.
A letter Ardmore Development Services Director Jessica Scott submitted to the mayor and city commission dated Aug. 20 said the ordinance “is intended to provide regulations to limit the impact that marijuana will have on health, safety, and community resources.”
In order to help citizens understand the new ordinance, the city hosted an educational session on Friday. While the mayor and city commissioners were all in attendance, Scott explained the event was not an official city meeting.
“What’s going to happen is we’re just going to talk about the ordinance,” Scott said to the crowd. “If you have any questions or if you have any concerns, that’s great. You can also just make a statement. It’s not an official city meeting. They are just here to listen or could have questions, but no action will be taken. Legally we can’t. We’re not going to. Whatever comes out of today, it may or may not lead to policy change. This is your opportunity to say what you would like to say.”
Scott began by giving a brief rundown of what other cities are doing. She pointed out that most cities are regulating medical marijuana in some manner, and some are implementing more restrictive measures than Ardmore — if not prohibiting it all together. She then described the two types of permits required by the city for medical marijuana, commercial and residential.
“If you are going to do a medical marijuana commercial business such as a dispensary, a grow facility, a storage, a processor, manufacturer, or anything like that you need to come and get a permit from the city.” Scott said. “Now to get that permit you will need your state license, but if you’re thinking of a location before you get that license you should come see us.”
The city now has a map available that shows locations where various aspects of the commercial medical marijuana industry can be permitted. It has all areas marked within 1,000 feet of a school where no commercial medical marijuana will be allowed. It also shows if a location is zoned appropriately for whatever type of new business is being proposed.
“We did not change our zoning,” Scott said. “We took the marijuana law and we made no changes to the city zoning. What we said was if you want to grow marijuana, you can grow it anywhere that you can grow corn. In our ordinance it says if you want to grow corn, you can do it in agricultural or industrial. So if you want to grow marijuana, you can grow it in agricultural or industrial — same thing.”
She then went over the rules concerning selling marijuana.
“If you want to sell marijuana, you can sell it anywhere you can sell cupcakes or t-shirts,” Scott said. “So in my city if you can sell t-shirts, you can sell marijuana.” The only exception to this rule would be the downtown “fire zone” where cannabis cannot be sold. Next she addressed patients who plan on growing their own plants for personal use.
“If you want to grow it at home, you need to come and see us,” Scott said. “You’re going to need a permit, and we’re going to tell you all the rules.”
These rules include provisions preventing the plants from being seen from the right of way and that it has to be kept locked up by a commercial grade lock with the only people having access to it being those who have a license.
In the final segment of her presentation, Scott went over the permit costs associated with cannabis. Commercial business permits will cost $2,500 and residential permits will cost $100.
“Our fees mimic that of the state,” Scott said. “Any commercial business is $2,500. $500 is for the application and $2,000 once you receive your permit.” She then reminded everyone that the laws are very likely to change on the state level and that the city ordinances will likely change to reflect any new regulations put into place. This could lead to city permit fees changing as new laws are implemented by the state.
She concluded her portion of the day by reminding the crowd that the city was there to help.
“If you are anticipating opening a medical marijuana business or want a permit for your house, come and see us,” Scott said. “Let us walk you through the permit. Let us help you. Don’t put money into where it’s not going to be useful. We’re there to help you, so you might as well utilize us.”
The city ordinance code on medical marijuana can be found at
www.ardmorecity.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/4122?fileID=2830