July 31, 2023 at 10:31 a.m.
Lindstrom Council asks advisors to bring model ordinance language on marijuana issues to next meeting
The Lindstrom municipal law firm sent their marijuana statute specialist to the Lindstrom City Council meeting last week to have “the talk” that many other cities have had.
Cities are organizing their localized responses to the state allowing recreational use of personal amounts of cannabis as of August 1. Retail licenses won’t be ready to apply for until the end of 2024.
Legal advisors are scrambling to help put together a battle plan; which for some cities includes new ordinances on public use and/or placing a halt on applications for future cannabis stores.
There are a couple of deadlines of importance, according to Leah Koch of Campbell Knutson. There’s a lot of work ahead yet, for the state regulatory agency the Office of Cannabis Management.
As the fine details come together the city needs to start thinking about where a cannabis retailer can be located and if Lindstrom wants petty misdemeanor violations ofanyone cited for non-compliant use in public places.
Basically if a business meets city code and if it gets licensed through state channels, the applicant must be allowed to “register.” Depending on the number (concentration) of cannabis business locations, a city can say no, but there are conditions. For every 12,500 population the state has said there must be at least one retailer permitted. It can be more.
Chief of Police Schlumbohm advised some level of criminal enforcement (petty misdemeanor) is necessary to go into new city ordinances. Years ago when minors’ use of tobacco was decriminalized, the city developed its own ordinances to be able to assess a penalty (consequence.) Lakes Area Police has been able to use these local laws as an enforcement tool with juvenile tobacco offenders and retailers..
Council member David Waldoch spoke in favor of Campbell Knutson providing model ordinances for review by the August council meeting.
Mayor Judy Chartrand agreed, adding cities are awaiting OCM to do its job and get established and hopefully by the time (in 2025) when the process for licensure is finalized, Lindstrom will be on track.
The council took up a tabled matter related to the Northland/Dinnerbel site on South Lindstrom Lake.
The council voted 5-0 to lift the PUD status that was approved for a previous project and return the land to Commercial Business District zoning. The Planned Unit Development was granted to facilitate a 90-plus unit apartment complex.
There was disappointing news that the developer Christian Lawrence or Northland have not communicated over many attempts since May, requesting a revised project.
City Planner Beth Richmond said that the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement remains with the site unless or until anything different comes along. The decrepit condition of the existing structure is not being addressed, council heard, partly because the TIF assistance is predicated on there being blight to address, causing excessive expenses for developing the parcel.
A resurfacing of Neal Avenue between 295th and 299th, was awarded to Knife River contractors. The city engineer reported the reclaim-and-pave bid came in at $408,884. Work is slated for completion in October. Affected residents should be seeing a newsletter.