The Orem City Council will discuss and vote on requirements for cannabis production establishments and medical cannabis pharmacies in the city during Tuesday’s regular council meeting.
This will be a public hearing and residents will be allowed to comment.
“This is preemptive on our part,” said Jason Bench, city planner.
Bench said the city felt it was prudent they be prepared as growers and pharmacies are allowed in Orem.
The state recently released the location of pharmacies that will be dispensing medical marijuana. Utah County will have three: in Lindon, Provo and Springville.
“We had quite a few phone calls from people (potential growers) wanting to come into our city. We pushed them off until we could get this ordinance in place,” Bench said. “We were hesitant to give approval until the council approved the changes.”
The state regulates both growers and pharmacies but is allowing cities to specify how many zones they will be allowed in.
When it comes to pharmacies, they will be allowed in all retail zones, but the growers will be limited to one — the M2 zone.
According to Bench, the M2 (heavy manufacturing) is a zone where applicants would be more likely to locate as there are a few more location options there. It is on the north side of the city between Interstate 15 and Geneva Road.
Residents could see a pharmacy along State Street in the future.
The language of the council agenda application said that it is in “the best interest of the city and is reasonably necessary because it will bring city ordinances pertaining to medical cannabis uses into compliance with state law and will allow medical cannabis uses in the City subject to the requirements of state law as well as other regulations designed to promote the public welfare.”
The medical cannabis issue has had a long journey to finally get to the actual dispensing and growing stage.
In November 2018, Utah voters approved Proposition 2, which made medical marijuana legal in the state. The state Legislature passed House Bill 3001 on Dec. 3, 2018, which was signed by the governor and became law.
Among the elements of the bill specific to cities was a requirement that cities provide in their zoning code a place for cannabis cultivation facilities and cannabis pharmacies, according to the bill wording.
While the state regulations allows for growing in several zones, Bench said the city wants to limit it to one location.
Bench said they looked at Ogden’s new code and wrote a similarly worded code for Orem. It was vetted by Orem city attorney Stephen Earl.
If the council chooses to do nothing on Tuesday or vote no, Orem would still be regulated by the state.