Helena commissioners unanimously approve first passage of ordinance impacting medical marijuana dispensaries, city manager contract

Posted at 10:45 PM, Dec 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-04 00:45:39-05

Monday, Helena City Commissioners unanimously agreed on the first passage of an ordinance temporarily suspending a part of city code which prevents medical marijuana dispensaries from operating in city limits.

A section of city code currently prohibits the city from issuing a license to a business that is permitted by state law but federally prohibited.

In September, the city annexed an area east of Granite Street, south of Highway 12 West, and west of city limits.

The moratorium, if it passes, would allow a medical marijuana dispensary to continue operating in the newly annexed area and give the city time to consider whether to amend the current code.

At Monday night’s meeting, one person spoke in favor of the decision.

“The system in place right now to change providers is very long and arduous,” said Doreen Bomar. “So if this dispensary closes down, it will affect a lot of patients, and their ability to access medicine safely.”

A public hearing on the matter is set for December 17th.

City commissioners also approved Ana Cortez as the next city manager on Monday.

Her employment agreement, which she has already signed, was unanimously approved.

Her start date is January 23rd.

Cortez is currently the assistant city manager for Yakima, Washington. She has also worked for a number of cities in California and was one of 116 applicants for Helena’s city manager position.

Former city manager Ron Alles stepped down from the position at the end of June. Dennis Taylor is currently serving as city manager.