Morgantown City Council takes issue with Mon County BOH’s new medical marijuana proposal

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Monongalia County Board of Health (BOH) is proposing additional regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries to set up shop in the county. That idea isn’t sitting well with all.

One group unhappy with the idea is the Morgantown City Council, which unanimously approved a letter to the BOH requesting they withdraw their proposal. Deputy Mayor Rachel Fetty said West Virginia passed the Medical Cannabis Act in 2017, Morgantown established zoning laws and regulations in 2018, and businesses had until February of 2020 to apply for permits, so new proposals about parking lot restrictions, security on the premises, and other things are too late.

Fetty

I would like to see them move forward with the license applications that have already been submitted. And then if they truly believe that the regulations that they are trying to put forward are in the best interest of the public, that they try to address this at a later time, but not applicable to this specific and very narrow time frame that we are operating in at this point. There’s just no time for folks to adjust, and all of the applications were due — they were due six months ago.

Rachel Fetty – Deputy Mayor

Fetty said some businesses have already spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to meet initial regulations created by the state and city, so new regulations at the county level could prove devastating and frustrating. In a timely fashion, part of the city’s frustration is that it created its regulations back in 2018, which can’t be said about the proposed BOH regulations.

She said she understands the BOH is not attempting to do anything inappropriate and is only interested in protecting the public’s health. However, they must understand that it’s “it’s not practical at this time to carry out these regulations.”

The city council, Fetty said, is “deeply appreciative” of all the efforts of the BOH in everything it does, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. She added that the BOH and the city council have great mutual respect for one another, but their timing is off.

“We’re not at all trying to be critical of what the health department is trying to do, but we are trying to deal with reality on the ground,” Fetty said. “This law was passed in 2017 and I half expect that is the will of the people and we’re effectively denying people access to medical care and that’s not a position that anybody wants to be in.”

The BOH will not be commenting on its new proposal until a virtual emergency meeting Thursday, Oct. 22, at 9 a.m. Members of the public wishing to receive a zoom invitation are asked to please email Kathy.m.kerin@wv.gov or call 304-598-5147 by 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, and provide a name, phone number, and email address. 

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