County officials explore cannabis dispensary zoning

Published 3:49 pm Thursday, July 7, 2022

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NATCHEZ — Some Adams County supervisors say they don’t want cannabis dispensaries located “just anywhere” in the county, so they are considering creating dispensary zones.

On Friday, July 1, new Mississippi laws concerning medical marijuana took effect.

The new state law established rules governing the consumption, growth and sale of medical cannabis while also giving local governments the power to enact their own restrictions on where marijuana businesses can be.

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City of Natchez officials previously approved requirements for the location of dispensaries, which can only be placed within a newly established medical district. This includes where a current concentration of doctors’ clinics are located around Merit Health Natchez hospital on Seargent Prentiss Drive as well as along Jeff Davis and Highland boulevards.

District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray said Tuesday the county should adopt zoning requirements outside of the city.

“My concern is, in the county, are we going to set up something or are they just going to be all over the county?” he asked the board. “We need to have a game plan in place to make sure we as a board know what is going on in Adams County when it comes to these dispensaries.”

Gray added he was “100-percent” on board with having dispensaries in the county. However, his concern is whether or not the county will be able to benefit from having them.

District 3 Supervisor Angela Hutchins asked the board about setting up a special department to handle the business approval process.

“We’ll look at what the law limits them from doing and whether we need to fill in some of those gaps with the law,” said county attorney Scott Slover. “There is also an approval process before any of them come to Adams County. They have to get approval from the board and from the state. My understanding is that it’s super comprehensive but we need to look at whether there are any gaps in what the law allows.”