NKY governments wrestle with allowing medical MJ in their cities Skip to content

NKY governments wrestle with allowing medical MJ in their cities

With medical cannabis coming soon, cities have to decide how to deal with zoning and licensing issues. Here are four NKY cities that are doing just that.

3 min read

Medical cannabis is coming to Kentucky in January of 2025. But local governments have to decide now if they are going to allow it in their city or opt out. And, if allowing it, how and how much?

As noted in an article by LINK NKY:

Medical cannabis will be legal in the state effective Jan. 1, 2025. Each individual city is responsible for creating the zoning regulations to make way or not allow those types of businesses to operate; however, if cities do not have those regulations in place by June 30, the state can begin issuing licenses, and if those businesses start operations, they will be grandfathered against any future regulation.

The state will begin issuing licenses to businesses on July 1, so they have six months to get up and running and gather inventory before Jan. 1. Applications will then be approved through a lottery.

Four Northern Kentucky cities are beginning to deal with the issue, taking a variety of approaches to the decision. Here are stories about the four from LINK NKY, one of the new online newspapers serving Northern Kentucky. Click through the links to read more.

Erlanger City Council proposes medicinal cannabis zoning amid county debate

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Erlanger City Council brought forth a resolution for the city’s medicinal cannabis zoning. The proposed text amendment to the Erlanger Zoning Ordinance would add medical cannabis as “a permitted use for cultivation, processing, production, dispensary and safety compliance in all the employment zones, or the old industrial zones,” according to City Attorney Jack Gatlin. It also would place all dispensaries in the commercial zones. Other information added to the zoning document included definitions for words implemented into the article. (Read more)

Independence City Council to place medical cannabis business question on ballot

Independence City Council voted to send the question whether to allow medical cannabis businesses in the city limits to the November ballot after a long discussion on June 3. The vote for the ballot resolution passed by a 4 to 2 vote, with council members Chris Vogelpohl, Greg Waite, Carol Franzen and Tom Brinker voting in favor of the ballot measure and Council Members Greg Steffen and Dave Shafer voting against. (Read more)

Campbell County opts out of cannabis business operations

As medical cannabis is soon to be legal in Kentucky, Campbell County voted to opt out of allowing cannabis business operations in the county—at least for now.

The county chose to prohibit medical cannabis businesses to give each city more time to develop its own regulations. Individual cities and the county have the option to opt in in the future.

“A lot of our cities only meet once a month, or their planning commission’s maybe once a month; they just don’t have the time to put together the zoning and any regulations they would want on the businesses,” Campbell County Administrator Matt Elberfeld said. “So, this really just buys everyone more time to think through and each city to make their own decision.” (Read more)

Elsmere City Council discusses medical cannabis licensing

Elsmere City Council listened to a presentation on medical cannabis licensing at their June 4 caucus meeting. The presentation was delivered by Sharmili Reddy, executive director of the Planning and Development Services, known as PDS, of Kenton County.

Reddy presented the city council with three options on how to proceed. Elsmere may follow the state legislation via the ballot process and subsequently work with PDS to determine zoning for cannabis operations within city limits. They may also reject the legislation by enacting their own ordinances ahead of the Jan. 1 deadline or put the issue on a ballot for the general public, for which Aug. 13 is the deadline.

Medical cannabis operations comprise five types of permit use: indoor cultivation, which requires agricultural permits and is divided into four tiers according to the cultivation area; processing and production, both of which require industrial permits; dispensary, which is covered by retail permits and safety compliance facilities. (Read more)


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