NewsMissoula County


Missoula setting rules for marijuana dispensaries

marijuana dispensary
marijuana dispensary
John Engen
Posted at 9:10 AM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 13:01:48-05

MISSOULA — Recreational marijuana will soon hit the streets of Missoula but before storefronts are turned into dispensaries on Jan. 1, the city is laying ground rules in an ordinance that regulates everything from the distance between dispensaries to the type of glass used in dispensary storefronts.

“Voters said ‘giddy up’ we want recreational cannabis in the state of Montana. And we want to match our regulations to the times and we want to ensure that we're not in a box where suddenly, there's no retail space downtown because it's all dispensaries.” - Missoula Mayor John Engen

The city's new marijuana ordinance calls for a 500-foot buffer between individual retail dispensaries in hopes of avoiding potential clusters of dispensaries in certain areas.

The new rules also ban the opaque windows often seen on dispensary storefronts, which is said to prevent the transparency of the storefront and alter the character of our neighborhoods.

marijuana dispensary

The city has prohibited the use of high-intensity discharge lighting for cannabis cultivation as it uses twice as much energy as other lighting options.

“This is really a goal-oriented zoning and it's about addressing concerns around the community,” Engen told MTN News.

The new regulations will not apply to existing businesses, only to those that open after Jan. 1. There are currently 70 cannabis-related businesses in operation in Missoula.

Several other Montana cities — including Billings, Bozeman and Helena — have also been busy setting up new rules as they prepare for the changes that are coming on Jan. 1.