Planners offer model zoning ordinance for medical marijuana buildings

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jun 17, 2016 3:15 PM

(Harrisburg) -- The state Department of Health is writing regulations for medical marijuana, and now a regional group is looking at zoning rules for businesses tied to the industry.

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission has put together the model ordinance.

It's based on how other states have handled zoning for medical marijuana businesses, and also meets requirements under Pennsylvania's new law.

"But it also suggests some other things that municipalities might consider but don't have to include. So it's really a flexible tool but it starts to get the work in motion for municipalities that are interested," says Diane Myers-Krug, associate director for the commission.

Myers-Krug says the Commission put together the model ordinance for medical marijuana zoning because some municipalities have asked questions.

"It kinda frames the conversation. We're not going to get through all of the issues related to the medical marijuana, but in terms of land use and what the municipalities can permit and not permit, certainly can be defined through the zoning ordinance."

The ordinance covers academic centers doing medical marijuana research, growers and processors, and dispensaries.

It suggests creating a buffer between growers, processors and dispensaries and drug-free school zones, along with recreation centers and playgrounds.

It also points to security concerns, suggesting dispensaries have just a single entrance and exit.

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