Mall area location for medical marijuana dispensary needs more thought

The developer of a proposed medical marijuana dispensary is seeking a zoning permit for a center in southwest Minot, near Dakota Square Mall.

The location needs to be reconsidered.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are about to be a statewide reality. The voters have spoken. For good or for ill, they are coming to Minot and other cities in North Dakota.

That doesn’t mean that locals have no control over where they operate.

The mall is not an appropriate location. There are too many young people, too many families and some families will choose not to explain to youngsters what such a facility does. It interferes with families’ abilities to choose when to discuss with minors the issue of marijuana and medical marijuana. Families should not have to be forced to discuss the issue because of the proximity of a dispensary close to the city’s only full-service mall.

This is not to defame dispensaries or defame the movement that brought the law to reality. The truth is that the city was wrong in 2014 to place a moratorium on a methadone clinic, which it later lifted in 2016 after research showed the clinic presented no public threat. Minot must cooperate with the new law as well. Is a marijuana dispensary a potential threat to residents of Minot? Probably not. But where is the data? And why should parents be forced into a discussion with which they might not be comfortable yet?

Let’s have another look at this. No, a dispensary approved by the state should not be exiled to the hinterlands.

But in proximity to the mall?

That needs some serious discussion.

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