Coldwater Approves Recreational Marijuana Business Ordinances & Budget

by Josh Colletta

A pair of ordinances nearly two years in the making were approved Monday night by the Coldwater City Council, finally establishing the framework to allow recreational marijuana businesses in the city.

According to WTVB and the Daily Reporter, the council voted 6 to 2 in favor of both measures, with councilmembers Chad Johnson and Jim Knaack being the “no” votes each time. Randall Hazelbaker was absent.

The ordinances technically go into effect on July 13th, but the city staff still needs time to finalize the application process, so applications won’t be accepted until September 1st.

Retail marijuana shops will be allowed with a special use permit in both downtown and the commercial district surrounding the U.S. 12 / I-69 interchange. All other forms of marijuana business will be limited to the heavy industrial zones, including co-located retail operations.

All retail marijuana businesses will have to be 500 feet from homes and schools and 1,000 feet apart from each other.

Currently, state law requires a medical marijuana business license as a prerequisite to receive a recreational marijuana business license, and no Coldwater resident holds a medical marijuana business license. However, that prerequisite expires in early December 2021.

The council also approved operational budgets for Fiscal Year 2021 at the meeting, covering operating and special revenue funds, T.I.F.A. apportionments for the Downtown Development and Local Development Funds, and Coldwater Board of Public Utilities budgets.

The city’s general fund has a bottom line of $10.2 Million, and City Manager Keith Baker says that even though a deficit of $247,000 is planned for, the operating fund balance reserve is still over 40% of expenditures due to the C.B.P.U.

Capital spending will require caution, and Baker said big ticket purchases should be delayed as long as it’s safe to do so.

Baker added that city officials need to be wise with the few funding mechanisms available to pay for increasing pension liabilities.

The budget for F.Y. 2020 originally anticipated a deficit of $271,000, but two later amendments brought that down to $104,000.