Temporary moratorium set for new medical cannabis business permits

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star

Shawnee city commissioners recently agreed to pass a resolution to establish a temporary moratorium on the granting of new permits and licenses for medical marijuana businesses.

With 19 medical marijuana businesses currently in operation in the area — and 17 more applications in the works, the city has deemed it in the community's best interest to tap the brakes as the state continues to work through new legislation regarding legal parameters of the industry.

“Continued granting of new permits and licenses leading up to the potential changes within state law would complicate and frustrate the orderly administrative review process conducted by the city,” the resolution reads. “The Board of Commissioners acknowledges the potential for an exponential increase in the saturation and density of medical marijuana establishments within the City of Shawnee imposes a risk to the health and safety of its citizens.”

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A clear scoop holding a large cannabis bud next to tipped-over jar packed with cannabis buds.

Cost also continues to remain a factor in keeping pace with the ever-evolving change in rules.

Shawnee City Attorney Joe Vorndran said administrative costs relating to the industry have really gone up as the Oklahoma Marijuana Authority and state legislation have continued to develop and evolve regulations.

“We're trying to be consistent with what the actual administrative cost is,” he said. “The concern is some of the state-level density restrictions may ultimately reduce or limit the number of licenses available.”

Shawnee city commissioners prepare for their June 7 board meeting.

He said it basically means the planning department, fire marshal and building code enforcement are spending inordinate amounts of time on license applications that may never actually receive ACA licenses.

The moratorium went into effect immediately after the vote June 7 and is to last until the end of the state's legislative session. The 17 pending applications were not affected by the resolution.

Watch for updates.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.