LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Lawton’s City Council is getting ready to talk about where businesses will be allowed to grow and sell medical marijuana. The public will also get to weigh in on the issue.
Medical marijuana has not been legal long, so the city did not have any zoning plans, but they have people calling and asking about opening marijuana businesses, so they want to establish zoning requirements. Community Services Director Richard Rogalski said while many people are inquiring no business has applied for a medical marijuana building permit.
The proposal on the city council agenda suggests the city allow dispensaries in the commercial zoning areas and allow people to have indoor growing facilities in the industrial parts of the city. As it’s proposed, commercial outdoor growing will only be allowed in an industrial-4 zone. There are only a few I-4 areas and most of them on the edges of city limits.
"It's one of those uses that you can't contain the impact that it might make. You really have to be careful where it goes, and that's why we made it a use permit on review. So it will be in one of our industrial zones, and we made it a use permit on review to try and say 'okay, there are some places where it's good, where it would work and some places where we would not want it.'"
He believes the code will evolve with time as they learn more about the dispensaries and growing facilities. Rogalski said zoning impacts everyone in the community, and it’s important to let people know what’s going on.
"Some folks may think that our proposal is too restricted and some folks may think our proposal is too lenient. It gives you that chance to have that voice and let the council know, this is our community, this is Lawton's community, this is Lawton's zoning rules, and it should be made by Lawtonians."
Prior to voting on the issue, the public will have a chance to share their concerns.