LAINGSBURG — City officials have scheduled a public hearing to gather input regarding a proposed amendment to the city’s commercial marijuana establishments ordinance that would allow for microbusinesses.

The public hearing, set for 7 p.m. Feb. 3 at city hall, will be part of the Laingsburg City Council’s regular session. The council voted unanimously Monday to schedule the hearing after receiving a recommendation from the planning commission to amend the city ordinance.

“My thoughts are, you know, keep it local,” council member Brian Fredline said. “It’s a farm-to-table concept. We don’t want some huge conglomerate in here that’s going to dictate to us what we can do with our municipality. It’s not like everybody is going to have a pot plant in their house. We’d only be allowing two microbusinesses.”

Under a microbusiness license, an owner can grow, process and sell up to 150 plants from the same building, with the caveat that the license holder can’t sell product to other retailers, rather only to individuals 21 and older. Furthermore, if an individual owns a microbusiness, state law excludes them from holding other marijuana licenses.

“One thing that the microbusiness does allow that the other things that we have listed in there do not allow is the growing,” Community Planner/Assessor Peter Preston, of Preston Community Services, said. “The planning commission and the city council both, at the time that the original licensing ordinance was adopted, decided that they did not want to consider grow operations. There were two reasons: One, grow operations tend to be rather large and there’s a number of them going on in the state; the city didn’t think they had the space for that. The other reason had to do with the potential for odor.”

On Dec. 2, 2019, the city council voted to allow recreational marijuana facilities, agreeing to issue two licenses each for processing, provisioning, secure transport and safety compliance.

A request to consider an amendment to the recreational facilities ordinance to allow for microbusinesses was made by a small group of local residents during a planning commission meeting on Dec. 16, 2019. After a period of discussion, the planning commission recommended that the city council amend the ordinance.

Monday, Preston expressed concerns of allowing a grow operation in the city.

“The one thing that we’ve encountered, and I’ve expressed this to the planning commission and the council…I’ve seem some large facilities have odor problems, and I’ve seen and experienced some smaller facilities that had odor problems as well,” he said. “People have sensitivities occasionally, and those tend to come out with new land uses.”

After a brief discussion, the council voted 7-0 to bring the proposed amendment to a public hearing.

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