On Monday, the Stillwater City Council approved two applications for Specific Use Permits to develop medical marijuana dispensaries in Stillwater.
Although retail dispensary operations are allowed in areas zoned as Commercial Shopping, Commercial Business or Commercial General as well as areas classified as T5 and T6 in the city’s Form-based Code district, dispensaries require additional review by the City Council.
The councilors discussed their options with City Attorney John Dorman and Development Services Director Paula Dennison before voting on the applications.
Vice-mayor Pat Darlington said one person had contacted the council with concerns about the applications. There were no speakers present either to support or protest them.
State law precludes the city’s ability to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, processing facilities and growers aside from basic zoning and requirements that such businesses be located at least 1,000 feet from a school. There is no similar requirement for minimum distances from parks, daycare centers or recreation facilities like YMCAs, Dorman said.
Before the council voted, Councilor John Wedlake, an M.D. with a neurology practice, took issue with the use of the term “medical marijuana” calling it an oxymoron and saying he doesn’t want to see a medical marijuana dispensary in Stillwater.
“I’ve knocked my head against the wall trying to come up with a way to stop this,” he said.
Wedlake said he has concerns about the long-term impacts of marijuana use because there haven’t been enough studies done.
He distinguished between marijuana and CBD, an extract of the hemp plant that doesn’t contain the psychoactive compound THC and is widely available.
He later said there has been some research that shows there is some promise in potentially using marijuana for management of chronic pain and two specific types of epilepsy.
Dorman told the council that an application could be denied based