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Utah League of Cities and Towns leaders fear losing local zoning and police powers if medical pot is legalized

September 13, 2018

The Salt Lake Tribune,

September 12, 2018-
The Utah League of Cities and Towns stopped just short of formally opposing November’s Proposition 2 on Tuesday after a lengthy discussion on the public effects and potential risks of legalizing medical marijuana in the state. Marijuana does have medicinal benefits, a resolution approved by the league’s board of directors states, but a ballot initiative on the topic would preempt and infringe on the ability of cities to oversee land use, business licensing, law enforcement and zoning.

“Cities and towns oppose any action to preempt traditional local authority to enact ordinances that are vital to the public safety, health, and welfare of our communities.” Proposition 2 includes language that prohibits cities from specifically discriminating against cannabis dispensaries. DJ Schanz, director of the Utah Patients Coalition, said the provisions mirror the state’s approach to liquor stores and tobacco shops and that city and county leaders retain authority over broad zoning categories and designations. “There might be 10 functioning cannabis dispensaries in the whole state, in industrial areas with no advertising,” Schanz said.