Commissioners this week looked into amending existing ordinances to conform to the newly passed medical marijuana law; the state Department of Health began accepting applications for medical marijuana licenses Aug. 25.

Commissioners this week looked into amending existing ordinances to conform to the newly passed medical marijuana law; the state Department of Health began accepting applications for medical marijuana licenses Aug. 25.

Community Development Director Justin DeBruin said, “(City Attorney) Joe (Vorndran) has primarily written this particular ordinance and I have looked very closely together at this and other municipalities in Oklahoma — and honestly nationwide — at this specific situation.”

Aug. 25 is when the (state) Health Department started accepting license applications.

“Our local ordinance is based on the health department's emergency rules and the new law that has gone into effect for medical marijuana,” he said. “It's been a tricky one, but I believe the language that we've put together here is appropriate for the City of Shawnee.”

DeBruin highlighted zoning districts he looked at and found appropriate for the city, classifying four or five different types of facilities — which had been defined early on — that state that only commercial marijuana processors, growers be limited to indoors, specifically, in commercial districts.

Research facilities and dispensaries shall be located in C3 and C4 districts, DeBruin said — which is the city's highway commercial district (the main commercial district), along with C4, the downtown district.

“The reason we selected these two particular commercial districts is based on the fact that we can't discriminate against these facilities as they come in,” he said, “so as retail facilities, as growers, we looked at our zoning code and found where those fit appropriately within our current standards.”

He said he has one amendment he would like to add: for research facilities, in particular, to be by conditional-use permit.

“Research I've done indicates research facilities can be anything from a one-room operation to an industrial-sized operation,” he said. “So, because of that ambiguity, I believe it should a conditional-use permit and a C3 and C4 fit.”

Locations in the industrial districts have been chosen, as well.

I-2 and I-3, which should be the city's medium- and high-level industrial districts, would allow locations for a proper sight-proof fence, where there could be grown operations on the outdoors, DeBruin said.

“We restrict that for the commercial uses, but allow that under certain circumstances under I-2 and I-3,” he said.

Only Commercial Marijuana dispensaries can be in the CP District, Shawnee Mall's designation, DeBruin said — which is very similar to C3.

“All these are completely appropriate for retail establishments, as we currently allow them in zoning,” he said.

The city, however, does not allow commercial growth in its agricultural district.

“It's restricted from A-1,” he said. “But personal medical-use growing would be allowed in A-1.”

He said, outside of those conditions, the city is following the state standards.

“This includes locations being at least 1,000 feet away from a public or private school,” he said. “We went a little bit further, in that we have included colleges and universities, juvenile or adult halfway houses, correctional facilities or substance abuse, rehabilitation or treatment centers, commercial daycare facilities and really any other licensed establishment that needs to be 1,000 feet away.”

What this does is keeps the city from having a grouping of any type of specific use directly together, he said, “to make sure we have that separation involved, as well.”

Outside of that, DeBruin said the rules also outline medical marijuana growing facilities for personal medical use.

Specifically for license-holders, he said growing would be restricted to the indoors.

“This would require licensing through the city and some of the restrictions put in place here — really access to these facilities — being houses — must be under lock-and-key when the resident is outside or away from the house,” he said.

They must comply with the established building and fire codes, with the inclusion of limiting the lighting; it must be less than 1,000 watts, he said.

“This goes back to our basic nuisance standards for the city,” DeBruin said, “making sure that neighboring properties and businesses aren't affected by any of these particular uses.”

Vorndran said the city spent a great deal of time addressing the issue, making every effort to support the spirit and intent of SQ 788 — the vote of the people.

“Staff is still working on the fee schedule, which should be ready to present with the rest of the package at a future meeting,” he said.

The board chose to defer action until the next meeting.

Watch for updates.