Slow ride: Norman rushing to finalize medical marijuana ordinance | Oklahoma

On Oct. 26, medical marijuana will formally be authorized in Oklahoma and Norman is racing to meet up with its personal ordinance.

Though zoning points haven't been determined — they may possible be addressed once more at at present’s oversight committee assembly — and a last ordinance gained’t come to fruition till December on the earliest, the council did choose some particulars Tuesday.

There is not any authorized requirement for the town to require a municipal license for medical marijuana sufferers, and although some cities have added that burden, Norman gained’t be considered one of them.

Many council members balked on the notion of requiring a metropolis license for sufferers as well as to the state license, as a result of no different medicine comes with comparable strings from the town.

Council members Alex Scott, Sereta Wilson and Kate Bierman stated it’s not moral to gouge sufferers looking for drugs, no matter what it's, as a income supply for the town.

Council member Stephen Tyler Holman agreed.

“I think having a license for dispensaries, growers and processors, that all makes sense and there is some administrative cost there. But for patients, if we don’t require a permit from them, then there’s not an administrative cost to process there,” he stated.

“Once they have a state-issued medical marijuana card, there’s a database that that card can be run through to verify that they are an actual patient … I don’t want Norman to make it anymore burdensome on patients than what state law says.”

With that challenge settled, the council turned towards business licensing with the goal of maintaining licensing prices and restrictions to a minimal to encourage native companies.

Mayor Lynne Miller stated the town ought to have an ordinance to take away any ambiguity and stop future issues that would come up within the occasion of nuisance stories, however she stated the objective is to assist companies and sufferers. The bones of Norman’s ordinance appear to point out the town is popping over a brand new leaf relating to business-friendly regulation, a minimum of on this case.

With Norman’s northern neighbor, Moore, having already handed an ordinance final week, there's a sense of urgency and the council expressed that it didn’t need to place itself at a aggressive drawback towards Moore’s annual business licensing charge of $1,200.

Council member Kate Bierman raised considerations about pricing out native, “homegrown” companies with prohibitive charges that might profit out-of-state entities with deeper pockets.

Council member Robert Castleberry stated he would really like to see the town do the identical for not simply dispensaries however builders who he stated pay a few of the highest charges within the state simply to do enterprise in Norman.

“I wish we had that same attitude on all fees, not just medical marijuana,” he stated.

Council member Bill Hickman stated he's involved that the town has taken so lengthy to get an ordinance in place and annoyed that “we are going to be one of the last cities to do something.”

Though the town’s present lack of ordinance wouldn’t essentially preclude dispensaries from promoting medical marijuana when state regulation goes into impact on Oct. 26, City Attorney Jeff Bryant stated it might breed uncertainty and create “gray areas.”

“It normally is more beneficial to have all the rules in place before private investment occurs, particularly if that private investment might be impacted by the final rules,” he stated.

Dispensary entrepreneurs James Cook and Eddie Bost, representing a gaggle of army veterans who've pooled assets to create a medical dispensary, confirmed that nervousness Tuesday night time when addressing the council. Cook, a Norman resident, stated his enterprise needs to be in Norman, nevertheless it’s troublesome to get began with so many unanswered questions on the metropolis degree.

“My concern is that delaying this permitting process is putting myself and the veterans who have already invested large sums of our own money into these businesses in kind of a limbo state,” he stated. “Meanwhile, Moore has streamlined the method.

“Based on the odds by which [SQ 788] handed in Norman, I would really like to see the town do what Moore has completed and make it a extra streamlined course of … They’re going off the state laws, which is principally the most effective apply throughout the board.”

Friendly Market proprietor Robert Cox, a medical marijuana cardholder and potential dispensary operator, had a extra optimistic tackle Tuesday’s dialogue.

“I love the fact that the City of Norman has a heart for the patients … and wants to make sure that Norman is business friendly,” he stated.

Miller stated metropolis authorized employees is working furiously to hammer out the small print and the council made an effort to velocity up the method Tuesday night time.

“At this point, we’re concerned about not misstepping, which other communities have done in trying to get theirs all finished,” she stated.

Other points, akin to what constitutes “reasonable security” stay to be cleared up by the state, metropolis lawyer Elisabeth Muckala stated.

The risk of an added three % gross sales tax on the metropolis degree is on the desk, however the council will possible wait to see what the state does first. In that regard, the town appears selected decreasing fines for easy marijuana possession and codifying into metropolis ordinance language that ensures no jail time for easy possession, reflecting modifications made to state regulation by SQ 780 which went into impact in 2017.

• Sales tax up: Interim City Manager Mary Rupp reported Tuesday that October gross sales tax income is up 1.7 % over final October. Total gross sales tax for the yr is up 2.5 % over final yr and 2018-2019 use tax is up 28.7 % over final yr. The spike in use tax is thanks largely to Oklahoma’s settlement with on-line retailer Amazon which agreed to remit use tax beginning in May 2017.

• Economic improvement open home: Team Norman, an initiative to interact the group on jobs and improvement, will launch at a public open home from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at The Mercury, 426 E. Main St.

The theme of the occasion, which developed from current strategic planning efforts led by the Norman Economic Development Coalition, might be financial improvement and the way residents can get extra concerned in creating financial alternatives.

“Team Norman is a great description of what we are trying to achieve,” Mayor Lynne Miller stated. “Economic development has become a team sport. For us to achieve our greatest success, we have to harness all of our collective resources and work together.”

Attendees can study extra about employment and quality-of-life initiatives, and supply enter. The occasion is a part of the Second Friday Art Walk and can function frozen custard from Rusty’s Custard Factory, meals vans and reside music from Layer Cake.

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• ADA open home: The metropolis will host an ADA open home on Oct. 24 at metropolis corridor the place there shall be an replace on the town’s ADA research and transition plan.

“It will be a good opportunity to ask questions and give input because this is just the beginning,” Mayor Lynne Miller stated. “We’ve just done the study. Now we have to start implementing the plan.”

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