Carlisle proposes zoning medical marijuana growers

CARLISLE, CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. -- Pennsylvania will grant 25 licenses to produce medical marijuana within the state.

Exactly where those facilities will be located is to be determined. Carlisle is one municipality which is taking a proactive approach.

Officials in Carlisle are working on drafting an ordinance to specifically zone parts of the borough that would be pre-approved to grow and produce medical marijuana.

Council officials are looking at where in the borough, medical marijuana growers and producers could set up shop.

Carlisle planning, zoning and codes manager Bruce Koziar said "about two weeks ago we had somebody walk in off the street and wanted to ask about growing and processing marijuana. So it was kind of coincidental. That's the first person we've had ask that."

At the moment, Koziar says Carlisle has no restrictions for medical marijuana.

"If there is a use that's not permitted by right anywhere in the borough, the applicant can go to the zoning hearing board for a special exception, by doing that, he in effect could be approved anywhere in the borough," Koziar said.

It's why Carlisle is being proactive by drafting an ordinance. If approved, it would set aside two areas for production on the edges of the borough.

"We're going to try to keep this away from schools, churches as much as we can. Anyplace like that and that area is zoned general industrial, so it would be a logical place," Koziar said.

Koziar has already pinpointed an areas north of High Street on the east side, and a high traffic area along Ritner Highway on the west.

"Zoning is to protect the borough's health, safety and way of life," Koziar said.

The borough council plans to bring a draft of the ordinance for public comment to the November 10th meeting at 7 pm.