City officials in Southaven have identified two areas it wants as Commercial Medical (CM) zones, where medical cannabis dispensaries could be located when the city opts into the state’s new law allowing medical cannabis to be sold.
The city currently is not part of the new law, having opted out ahead of a deadline set by the state when the law was enacted.
City Planning Director Whitney Choat-Cook presented the two areas her department has identified as areas that would be CM zones for the purposes of setting up dispensaries. One would be set up around Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto north of Goodman Road. The other is in an area east of Airways Blvd. and bordered on the south by Nail Road.
About 488 acres of land could be identified as CM locations under the proposal, which Choat-Cook presented as staff requested Board of Aldermen approval to move forward.
The plan was approved as presented, despite efforts by Alderman William Jerome to include an area near the Malco Theater in the CM zone, an area that was left out of the staff plan.
“We have a lot of retail there, but we also have a lot of loitering issues there,” Choat-Cook said. “What we have makes sense from a commercial medical standpoint but also from a police standpoint. We want to make them better patrolled areas. This is new to us.”
Jerome continued by saying he thought one dispensary could be set up in the area, to which Choat-Cook said there’s actually the potential for four to set up in the area Jerome wanted added. Mayor Darren Musselwhite said he agreed with his Planning Director.
“This is something that had some thought put to it,” Musselwhite said. “Make a motion if you want to change it and we’ll vote on it, but we need to start small and expand it if we need to.”
Jerome did offer a motion, after a brief and testy exchange with Musselwhite, who was trying to a get specific motion from him, but the final version eventually died for lack of a second and the staff request approval followed that.
Landowners will be made aware of the proposed areas with more action on the zoning side expected in September and October.