Birmingham City Council

Birmingham Council to Hear Arguments on Zoning for Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

Neeta Lind, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Birmingham City Council has set a Nov. 29 public hearing over proposed changes to the city’s zoning code that would allow for medical cannabis production facilities and dispensaries within city limits.

It’s the next step in a process the council started last month when it approved an ordinance broadly authorizing medical cannabis dispensaries in Birmingham. The Alabama State Legislature, which legalized the production and distribution of medical marijuana last year, will maintain strict control over the licensing process via the newly created Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, which is not expected to issue distributor licenses until July.

The state will approve up to five licenses for integrated cannabis facilities; licensees will be able to open up to five dispensing sites in separate counties. The state will also approve up to four licenses for dispensaries; licensees will be authorized to open three dispensing sites in separate counties.

The proposed changes to the zoning code lay out the rules for where medical cannabis cultivators, dispensaries, processors, testing laboratories and integrated facilities can be located in the city.

The new zoning code also would change zoning definitions for opioid replacement therapy treatment facilities, moving them from the “special exception” category to “permitted with conditions.” Such facilities offer replacement therapy for individuals seeking treatment for opioid addiction. Drugs used as replacements include naloxone, methadone and naltrexone.

The public hearing regarding the changes will take place during the council’s regularly scheduled 9:30 a.m. meeting on Nov. 29.

Read the full text of the proposed zoning changes.