BILLINGS — At its Monday meeting, the Billings City Council bought 90-days of time to delay the licensure and zoning applications of marijuana businesses until laws governing the businesses can be put on the books.
“You have a lot of work to do yet on these regulations. It would essentially undermine the work that you are currently doing to establish those regulations for marijuana businesses if you were to issue business licenses prior to enacting the zoning ordinance,” City Attorney Gina Dahl told the Council in her presentation ahead of the vote.
The council passed two ordinances, one regarding zoning and one regarding business licenses. Click here to view links to the ordinances via the Council agenda.
The delay allows city staff more time to research potential impacts to the community from allowing six different types of marijuana businesses into the city. Some business types include: cultivation, manufacturer, testing lab and transportation.
New laws produced by further research and Council discussion are expected address where and how many of the marijuana business types could set up shop, along with whether any product testing will be required at the city level.
State law calls out a total of seven types of marijuana businesses. Billings voters will decide in a Nov. 2 election whether to prohibit recreational marijuana dispensaries from opening their doors in the city.
The city has identified 27 medical marijuana dispensaries that are technically in Yellowstone County, but close to city borders. Starting the first of next year, providing they are in good standing with state and local regulations, the dispensaries will be able to sell recreational marijuana to adults over the age of 21.
Dahl mentioned one medical marijuana dispensary licensed by the city and currently operating in the city limits. The ordinances delaying licensure do not affect that business, Dahl said.
“There is a