Bedminster moves to regulate marijuana businesses – The Intelligencer
Bedminster is moving forward with plans to enact local regulations that will limit where medical marijuana businesses can operate in the township.
On Wednesday, Bedminster’s supervisors voted to move forward with advertising a new ordinance that will restrict legal marijuana dispensaries and grower/processor facilities to the township’s industrial district. The zone lies off Route 611 in the area of Applebutter Road and Appletree Lane, supervisors said.
After advertising the ordinance as law requires, supervisors can then hold a public hearing where residents can offer feedback and where supervisors can vote to approve or deny the proposed regulations. Such a hearing could occur at the supervisors’ regularly scheduled meeting next month or in April, officials said.
So far, no medical marijuana businesses have expressed interest in setting up shop in Bedminster.
Still, with Pennsylvania legalizing medical marijuana last year, there is always the possibility that a dispensary or grower/processor facility could desire to come to town.
“Established operators from other states where this has been legal want to come to Pennsylvania,” said Bedminster Solicitor John B. Rice.
While Pennsylvania law prohibits commonwealth municipalities from banning marijuana businesses, local governments have the authority to put rules in place that establish where the ventures are allowed to operate within their borders.
Without such local zoning rules, marijuana businesses could have greater power to set up wherever they see fit within a municipality, said Bedminster Township Manager Rich Schilling.
“If anyone has thoughts of doing this here, we have hung this up and can point to it to tell them that they have to comply with the zoning,” said Rice.
In addition to limiting marijuana dispensaries and growing/processing facilities to the industrial zone, the proposed ordinance also prohibits such businesses from using outside displays or storage.
If enacted, the ordinance will also require marijuana businesses to meet buffer requirements and fully comply with the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act. There are parking requirements, too. Dispensaries, for example, must provide one off-street parking space for each 200 square feet of total floor area used, or intended to be used, for servicing customers, plus one additional space for every two employees.
Initially, Pennsylvania is only granting 10 marijuana dispensary permits and two marijuana growing/processing permits for all of southeastern Pennsylvania — a region that encompasses Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Lancaster, Berks and Schuylkill counties.
Gov. Tom Wolf signed Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act into law in April last year. Under the law, people suffering from a range of qualified medical conditions — from cancer and HIV/AIDS, to chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin — will be able to obtain a prescription for medical cannabis through a physician.
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