On Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. the Lone Grove City Council will hold a public hearing on a proposed medical marijuana ordinance. The event will take place in the Council Room of the Municipal Building before the next regularly scheduled City Council meeting. Mayor Jeff Matthews explained the format.
“I’ve got a 10-point break down, and when I open the hearing I’m going to say this is what the state requires,” Matthews said. “From there, I’m just going to go over the ordinance step-by-step.”
He went on to say that the state prevents municipalities from discriminating against medical marijuana businesses.
Once the mayor reads the breakdown, the citizens of Lone Grove will be given the opportunity to voice their opinions about the proposed ordinance.
City Manager Ian O’Neal described some aspects of the ordinance.
“We’ve kept it very bare because we do not want to discriminate,” O’Neal said. “Any right that any other business owner has, so do they.”
The city will require a permit to  open a medical marijuana dispensary with no fees associated with the process.
“We don’t charge for any new business licenses,” Matthews said. “We dropped that about 10 years ago. So we won’t be charging for the dispensaries.”
There will however be a fee for growers because those facilities fall into the category of manufacturing. The city is currently determining what that fee will be and will announce it at the hearing.
Matthews said that while some may want the city to have tighter regulations and restrictions, legally the city cannot.
“We’re handcuffed here,” Matthews said. “There’s just stuff we can’t do. Now when the Legislature meets in January, they might change some of the regulations, but for now we’ve got to go with what’s there and make the changes as they come.”
After the hearing is over, the city council will vote on the proposed ordinance during their regularly scheduled meeting.