David Brooks, director of Lebanon planning and zoning, said the city could be a medical marijuana dispensary location for the Cheshire, Sullivan, and Grafton County region.
“We are aware that one organization did file with the Dept. of Health and Human Services for a location in Lebanon,” Brooks said, which is why he said the city wanted to take a proactive step in controlling where a dispensary might go, if Lebanon is selected as a dispensary site by the state.
An ordinance passed by the city council identifies a few areas where a dispensary could be located. They are sections of Route 12A, parts of Route 120 near the Lebanon-Hanover town line, sections of Route 4 near the exit 19 on-ramp for I-89, and parts of the Miracle Mile.
“We’re just trying to simply limit the sites to those that are likely to have the least negative impact on residential districts,” Brooks said.
The changes bring Lebanon’s zoning ordinance into alignment with a state law that requires medical marijuana dispensaries to be at least 1,000 feet away from school zones, playgrounds, child daycare facilities, or places of worship.
“We’re simply reacting to try and make sure that we don’t get a facility like this into a location where it might create a problem,” Brooks said.
Brooks said the city has been working with the Lebanon Police Dept. throughout the process.
Deputy police chief Phillip Roberts said, “the zoning ordinance that was approved by the council, we did have a chance to review that and we are supportive.”
Brooks said hopes residents realize the zoning changes were made with good intentions.
“If we get one in the wrong place and it does turn out to be a problem, then we’re going to be stuck with it,” Brooks said.
New Hampshire passed a law in 2013 that allows for four medical marijuana dispensaries to open in the state. As of yet, no dispensaries exist in the Granite State.