Permits to be issued to medical marijuana businesses and home growers

Starting today, the city of Lone Grove will begin issuing permits for medical marijuana businesses and home growers. That’s because during Monday night’s regularly scheduled meeting the City Council unanimously approved a new ordinance that outlines the rules within the city limits. 

Prior to the meeting, the city held a public hearing where Mayor Jeff Matthews pointed out the rules outlined in the ordinance are based on the guidelines put forth by the state board of health. He also said that the ordinance could possibly change after the State Legislature meets next year. He then went on to explain some of the items in the ordinance.

“The main law is we cannot discriminate at all,” Matthews said in reference to new medical marijuana businesses. “What we make other businesses do, we have to set the same standards for them.”

Because of this there will be no new fees associated with opening a distribution center.

“We don’t charge for any other businesses,” Matthews said. “The only fees involved will be the basic code enforcement inspections that that have to do with everybody.” These fees include things like electrical and mechanical inspections and City Manager Ian O’Neal said those are about $54.50.

However there will be a fee of $1,000 for growers and processors because they fall into the category of manufacturing. Renewal after the first year is $500.

A residential medical marijuana permit will have a one-time fee of $75. This is waived if the applicant is insured by Medicaid or Medicare and provides proof to the code enforcement officer.

After the mayor spoke the citizens were able to voice their opinions about the new ordinance. Some citizens said they thought the fee for manufacturing was unfair.

“Because we have not had a manufacturing code before, we’re implementing one,” Matthews said. “This would apply to any new manufacturing coming in.” He went on to point out that even at $1,000 the fee is lower than many other cities in the state.

At the conclusion of the meeting city manager Ian O’Neal spoke.

“I had a lot of great input from everybody,” O’Neal said. “I want to thank you guys for all helping out. I was relaying that information back to the city attorney. I don’t know how many times we went over this thing, but I think we’ve come up with a pretty good product.”

Copies of the new medical marijuana ordinance are available at Lone Grove City Hall.