For the first time since the regulations and taxes on recreational marijuana were solidified this past legislative session, Kalispell officials brainstormed ways to address marijuana business zoning within city limits at their June 28 work session.

Since Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the “Montana Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act,” or House Bill 701, on May 18, the Department of Revenue will begin accepting license applications on or before Jan. 1 and Kalispell will likely see licensed providers intending to open businesses as early as Jan. 31 of next year.

Medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation and processing are not currently permitted within Kalispell’s city limits. However, recreational marijuana will be permitted in 2022 unless residents petition and collect enough signatures to hold an election prohibiting marijuana businesses.

Officials discussed the different zoning approaches the city could take, which include similar requirements as liquor stores, pharmacies and casinos.

If dispensaries are classified under liquor store and pharmacy requirements, they would be permitted in all business and healthcare zones. Under casino requirements, they would be limited to certain zones and must be a certain distance away from places of worship, schools, parks, residential zones, highways and other casinos.

Other options include creating separate zoning requirements

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