An application for a Special Use Permit for a new medical marijuana dispensary in the vacant building to the east of Torchy’s bar at 704 East Dewey failed to receive a motion from City Council on Monday evening, and therefore, no action was taken.
Urban Development Director Nikki Howard reported her recommendations to the Council, saying that the applicant Mike McSweeney and his wife Monica, co-owners of Zen Budz (on Teel, just west of Main), “put the medicinal in ‘medicinal marijuana,’” with their inclusion of counseling services alongside retail sales. She said “I have heard nothing but really, really good things about their dispensary. And we don’t always hear good things.”
Howard said that as existing owners, the McSweeneys are very familiar with the multitude of conditions that go along with operating a dispensary, and reported that the Planning Commission unanimously approved the application at their May 4th meeting.
Councilor Richard Hudson asked if the applicants would close their current location if this application were to be approved, and Mr. McSweeney replied in the affirmative.
Councilor John Suggs asked him to please “speak to the counseling” aspect of the business. McSweeney replied that their objective is to “focus as much as possible on the medicinal part” of the business, particularly for those “who are just getting into cannabis.”
After the brief question-and-answer session, the 9 city councilors in attendance sat silently, in apparent contemplation, neither asking Howard or the applicant further questions nor making a motion to approve or deny the application.
Finally, City Attorney David Widdoes announced that the motion “died,” and the next agenda item was heard.
This is an extremely rare occurrence and was perplexing to most in attendance, including the applicant, particularly because of the application’s approval from City staff, including Howard, and the Planning Commission.