The Helena City Commission voted Monday to approve zoning regulations for medical marijuana-related businesses and require all dispensaries currently holding temporary licenses to reapply for permanent ones.
The regulations permit medical marijuana dispensaries in Helena’s three business and commercial districts, the light manufacturing district and the industrial district, but not within 500 feet of schools. Grow operations must operate with a conditional use permit in the light manufacturing and industrial districts at least 1,000 feet from schools or residential districts, and neither type of business can operate as a home occupation.
The city began to revisit the Prohibition-era ordinance that forbade licensing of marijuana-related business last summer after realizing that The Higher Standard, a Winston Street dispensary, was included in a planned annexation of Westside properties. A moratorium on enforcement of that code went into effect Dec. 17.
The commission also moved to expire all temporary dispensary licenses on June 30, requiring dispensaries within city limits to reapply for permanent licenses and comply with the zoning regulations to continue operating after that date.
The city has issued 10 special licenses for dispensaries since December, according to City Attorney Thomas Jodoin and Deputy City Attorney Iryna O’Connor, though at least one has had its application withdrawn. Another granted April 2 for a dispensary at 1400 Euclid Ave. conflicts with the regulations approved Monday because it is across the street from CR Anderson Middle School’s athletic field.