Siloam Springs Approves Moratorium For Medical Marijuana Businesses

SILOAM SPRINGS (KFSM) -- The city of Siloam Springs recently approved a resolution that places a 180 day moratorium on anything regarding medical marijuana businesses in the city.

Jay Williams, the city attorney, said this resolution is not a ban but a brief pause to allow the city some time to create a set of rules for any of those businesses.

This moratorium would not affect those who are wanting to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The city's board of directors voted seven to zero in favor of the resolution.

Williams said many city officials still had questions concerning medical marijuana that were not answered yet.

They will use these 180 days to better educate themselves on the issues.

David Couch, the original author of the medical marijuana bill said what they are doing is unconstitutional and no matter what they call it, it is still a ban.

According to Arkansas' Medical Marijuana Amendment, a city, incorporated town or county can enact reasonable zoning regulations for dispensaries or cultivation facilities as long as they are the same as those for a licensed retail pharmacy.

The amendment also states that they cannot prohibit the operation of dispensaries or cultivation facilities unless it is approved at an election.

Williams disagreed with Couch saying a moratorium is not an uncommon thing.

"It's our feeling that since we're not trying to ban anything, its just a temporary pause," Williams said. "A moratorium is a very common tool used by local governments and state governments. If you just think about all of the city and counties imposing fracking bans to study that."

Williams explained the city does not plan on banning medical marijuana at this time, they just want to do a little more research to create some rules appropriate for businesses and their citizens.

He said they could shorten or extend this moratorium but hope to have a set of draft rules within 30 days.

The board of directors will then look over these rules to either change or approve them for the city.