Missoula Recreational Marijuana Policy White Paper Outlines Possible Zoning Recommendations
Back in November 2020, Montanans voted to legalize the adult use of marijuana. After some hemming and hawing at the state level regarding the regulation of the formerly controlled substance, cities are now forging ahead to shape municipal policy for marijuana use.
In the CRE world, these regulations won’t just affect the retailers of marijuana products. Manufacturing, testing, and distribution are also considerations mentioned in the white paper. We briefly cover retail considerations in this post. Our team will dive deeper into the recommendations for industrial uses later. Please note that this is not an exhaustive recap of the suggestions. There is not yet a final, formal policy for adult-use marijuana retailers in Missoula.
One significant takeaway is in the timeline for these new businesses. Only existing medical marijuana facilities will be issued a business license for adult-use products from January 1, 2022, through January 1, 2023. It’s not until that date – January 1, 2023 – that any new retailer will be able to apply for a business license in Montana.
Marijuana businesses are treated like bars or other alcoholic services. The recommendations suggest a 500-foot buffer between these businesses and churches and schools. And, like many bars, no one under 21 years of age is allowed to enter an adult-use facility (unless they also have a medical card).
State regulations prohibit the use of marijuana products in public and at dispensaries. So, no popping a gummy while in the store. Per the state law, these businesses must have one entrance for customers and have to close by 8 pm.
None of these recommendations are formalized in city policy. As the city staff solicits public comment, they will also gather input from experts and stakeholders. Once that comment period closes, an amendment will be drafted and presented to the Missoula City/County Planning Board. That body then refers the policy to City Council. Council then votes on the amendment to the existing Title 20 Zoning Ordinance. Only then will the framework to Missoula recreational marijuana be a formal policy to help guide retailers.
Now is the time to weigh in with your comments and input via Engage Missoula.