The Columbus Planning Commission on Monday recommended approval for a medical marijuana growhouse/dispensary, along with two other dispensaries, all of which plan to locate along Highway 45.
The commission then voted to allow dispensaries in the same zones as drugstores, which covers commercial zones (C-1, C-2 and C-3). Grow facilities can locate in agricultural zones, as well highway commercial (C-3 and C-3R) and industrial (I-2 and I-3) zones).
“The legislature says that this is a controlled substance that is going to have to be dispensed through a certain facility,” Planning Commission Chairman Kevin Stafford said. “Well, that’s exactly what a drugstore is. In my mind, you can’t pick favorites, whether it’s an opioid or whether it’s cannabis.”
Recommended permitted uses and zoning changes go before the city council for final approval, with these recommendations likely to be on Tuesday’s council agenda. Representatives with all three businesses will be allowed to speak prior to the council vote.
All three permit applicants are local residents.
Becky Boyd and Tee and Terre Pittman are the owners of Magnolia Cannabis Services LLC, and they applied for a dispensary and a grow house permit. The dual business site will be located at the formerly Fitzner Pontiac-Buick-GMC-Dodge-Jeep-Isuzu building located at 901 Highway 45 N.
“We are going to be a family business. We’re going to stay local. Our family has been here since the city Columbus was founded in 1821,” Boyd said.
Boyd and the Pittmans face their own unique set of challenges. The planned site is located within 1,000 feet of a nearby church. They claimed to have obtained a waiver with the church but were unable to provide one to the city at the time of Monday’s meeting.
Because it is a state requirement, they will have to provide a copy and obtain a variance before being permitted according to the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act. The church is located 500 feet from the property line.
Boyd was also asked the question of security by Commission member, Quincy Harris.
We’re going to have cameras everywhere, we’re going to have armed guards and a vehicle 24 hours a day,” Boyd said.
Holistika, a cannabis dispensary started by Amber and Deneisha Glenn, plans to locate at 2003 Highway 45 N. in the former Tuesday Morning building at Jackson Square Plaza.
“It was just very important for us to be able to give back, put something in our community that we have control over,” Amber Glenn said after the meeting Monday night.
The Glenns initially rented the space more than a year ago to secure a viable space.
“The chances of us finding another commercial space where we weren’t close to churches and daycares was slim,” Deneisha Glenn said.
Corey Herring and Sophia Kibe were also approved for their dispensary business to locate at 1920 Highway 45 North in the Northgate Plaza.
Herring and the Holistika dispensaries are located within 1,500 feet of one another, which is not allowed by the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act.
According to Building Official Kenny Wiegel with the advice of City Attorney Jeff Turnage, he believes that whichever dispensary has its license processed and approved before the other would make it so that the other business will need to relocate. Since this was not a regulation set by the city, but by the state, the Planning Commission did not consider this when voting to recommend those businesses.
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