The possibility of recreational cannabis sales in Monticello is apparently back on the table.
City council members on July 13 had asked city staff to draft an opt-out ordinance which would prohibit sales in town, but two weeks later at least one alderman feels the issue needs a harder look.
Council member Mike Koon said an informal Facebook survey he conducted convinced him there should at least be more discussion. Of those who responded on the Monticello Open Community Forum, he said about 40 were in favor of allowing sales, compared to three against.
“I think it would be a little short-sided for the council to completely opt out. I don't think it reflects what the people of Monticello feel on this issue,” Koon said at the July 27 council session.
City Administrator Terry Summers had previously told the council that, on advice of city attorneys, the issue needs to go through the planning and zoning board prior to a council vote on opting in or opting out. It should be on the PZB agenda on Aug. 10.
The most control a city can have over cannabis sales is through the zoning process, which can mandate where such businesses are located, along with setbacks from churches and schools.
Koon felt the city could still have adequate control should it opt in.
“I hope we can open it up for at least some discussion. My feeling is, if we did this on a conditional use, the council would still get control of cannabis activities and businesses. We would be able to vet them,” he said.
In September of 2019, the council approved a 12-month moratorium on considering recreational cannabis sales permits to give it time to research the issue.
At the July 13 meeting, three aldermen spoke out against allowing recreational cannabis sales in Monticello.