Olive Branch has moved forward with an ordinance regulating medical cannabis businesses in the city. The Board of Aldermen approved a measure that basically mirrors state regulations under the new Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act voted into law and signed by Gov. Tate Reeves during the 2022 legislative session.
There are some local exceptions to the state regulations, however. For one, areas zoned AR, or agricultural residential, cannot be where medical cannabis dispensaries, or cultivation or disposal facilities are located. That’s to make sure they don’t locate near the several homes and neighborhoods in those areas.
Most dispensaries will end up being situated near commercial areas of Goodman Road, or along Hacks Cross Road near the state line with Tennessee. That is in keeping with state regulations to keep dispensaries at least 1,000 feet away from schools, churches, day care centers, and public or semi-public areas, as noted in the state regulations. There’s also a limitation of 1,500 feet between dispensaries.
Cannabis cultivation will be restricted to industrial zones in the city.
“This is likely to be the most regulated industry business in the city of Olive Branch,” City Attorney Bryan Dye told aldermen Tuesday night. “I think the city is taking with these drafts a good middle-ground approach.”
In addition to state fees to start and operate a medical cannabis operation, Olive Branch will be charging local fees of $2,500 for the first year and $1,000 each following year.
The approval vote also came after the city’s Comprehensive Plan was amended to reflect where permitted uses could take place.
Olive Branch was one of the DeSoto County cities and the county to opt into the medical cannabis law and Tuesday’s action was the next step in getting the city ready when the law becomes officially active on July 1. Hernando and DeSoto County are also under the new law, while Horn Lake and Southaven have opted out.
LOGO LICENSE PLATES: Olive Branch residents will soon have a chance to vote for one of four designs featuring the city’s logo that could become a special license plate.
“This will be an awesome opportunity to market our brand,” said Mayor Ken Adams as he and Communications Manager Jay Nichols presented the four potential designs to the board.
The $33 special license plate design must first be finalized by the city and then presented to the state for its approval before it could be printed and sold to vehicle owners. Adams said at least 300 people would also have to agree to pre-pay for the plates before the city could move forward.
After discussion, it was determined to put the four designs on the City of Olive Branch Facebook page and over a period of time people could voice their preference before aldermen make their final choice.