LAWTON, OK (RNN Texoma) - On Tuesday night, Lawton’s City Council spent much of their last meeting of the year talking about medical marijuana.
The council approved two of the four medical marijuana items on the city council agenda dealing with the urban renewal plan. While the council already approved medical marijuana zoning, the city’s urban renewal plan has to be changed for it to be allowed downtown. Lawton’s City Planning Director, Richard Rogalski, said the renewal plan takes a higher priority than the zoning areas.
The approval didn't come without some changes.
"I can't support excluding medical marijuana growing because I don't see that as a hazardous issue," Councilman Jay Burk said.
Item nine and ten originally made it where the commercial central area and mix use, an area where people live, work, and play, couldn't have growing and processing facilities.
But councilman Burk wanted to change that.
"I don't understand going into an area that is truly trying to redevelop and saying we're going to limit what can go in that area," he said.
Mayor Fred Fitch didn't agree with Burks suggestion.
"You've got churches down there and everything else,” Mayor Fitch said. “I just can't see, I think we need to leave item number nine as it is written, and I would ask for a substitute motion in that regard."
The council approved Burks changes and passed the two items but added that research or growing facilities must also have a dispensary. The third item, dealing with another area of the urban renewal plan, didn't pass because it didn't get the five votes it needed.
Councilwoman Onreka Johnson voted for the other items but voted against the third item dealing with medical marijuana in the downtown area. She said she voted against it because there are homes in the mix use area.
"Since I'm representing them that is not what they wanted,” she said. “So, I voted that way."
Following the failure of the third item, the council postponed the public hearing until the Lawton Urban Renewal Authority makes some changes to the residential and mixed-use area.