Muskogee opening door to 'trade shows,' medical 'cannabis conventions' – Enid News & Eagle
An amendment to Muskogee’s medical marijuana ordinance will allow those who attend outdoor events promoting the industry to “medicate” while on the premises.
The ordinance, which is scheduled to take effect Jan. 30 and applies to city-owned venues, makes an exception to smoking and vaping prohibitions on city property. The measure was promoted as a way “to advance our opportunities through tourism and economic development.”
Ward IV Councilor Traci McGee, who sponsored the ordinance, said she believes the amended ordinance will “enhance the economic stability of the community.” She said delaying the effective date until January will allow “staff to do some research and bring back some recommendations to let us know how that would look.”
Passing this now will “give us a chance that when we are putting together a plan for tourism we know … we can take on those kind of gigs,” McGee said. “We lay the groundwork now and as 2021 rolls around, we are looking at this, and we are planning, and we will be prepared.”
Ward II Councilor Alex Reynolds said several promoters overlooked Muskogee as a venue for “trade shows and cannabis conventions” due to the local prohibition for smoking and vaping on municipal property. The prohibitions — an extension of the city’s anti-tobacco ordinance — were included in the medical cannabis zoning ordinance adopted after voters approved its use in June 2018.
“If we are going to build a venue that holds something the size of Rocklahoma — or a G Fest, or something of that nature — we are going to have to look at allowing them to come in and smoke, have some beers, have some food or things of that nature,” Reynolds said.
City Attorney Roy Tucker said the ordinance still prohibits smoking or vaping medical cannabis products at indoor venues regardless of what type of event is taking place.
Tucker said the Parks and Recreation Board could recommend guidelines for venues to “address some of the more intricate aspects” of the ordinance.
Ward III Councilor Ivory Vann and Ward IV Councilor Tracy Hoos cast the two dissenting votes.
Vann said while he has seen — and appreciates — the healing qualities of medical cannabis and the medical marijuana businesses in Muskogee, he could not support the ordinance. He said his views about public use of the product is similar to his opposition to bars serving drinks on Sunday.
“Medical marijuana is for people who are sick, not to have events at a public space where you can smell it,” Vann said. “Do it at home, don’t bring it out to Hatbox or around our children — that is just the way I was brought up.”
Hoos, a local physician, said he agreed the ordinance “is something that needs to be entertained because we probably are missing out on revenue.” Trying to put aside his “personal opinion about medical marijuana,” Hoos ultimately voted against the measure after questioning “exactly how it would be done.”
Tucker expects specifics about implementation will be available before the ordinance takes effect.
This article originally appeared here in https://www.enidnews.com/cnhi_network/muskogee-opening-door-to-trade-shows-medical-cannabis-conventions/article_659242ba-fcd6-538f-a004-166a4d5fe139.html