OGDEN — Ogden City is gearing up for marijuana.
In November 2018, Utah voters approved Proposition 2, a ballot initiative that made medical marijuana legal in the state.
After Proposition 2, the Utah Legislature passed House Bill 3001, which requires cities to provide a location within either their industrial/manufacturing or agricultural zones for cannabis cultivation facilities and pharmacies.
Consequently, the Ogden City Planning and Legal departments have been working to find a section of town where the theoretical cannabis facilities could open for business. Planning Manager Greg Montgomery said since Ogden does not have any agricultural zones, the city must allow for a cannabis production establishment in one of its industrial areas.
Montgomery said several sections of the city were considered, including the Ogden Business Depot, but the Ogden Commercial and Industrial Park — at the far southwest corner of the city — was ultimately deemed the best fit.
Proposed changes to Ogden’s zoning ordinance would also require marijuana production facilities to be located at least 600 feet from any residential zone and 1,000 feet from any community location, like a church or a school. Exterior brick on the facilities would have to remain unpainted, according to the proposal, to avoid drawing attention to the building.
Pharmacies would have to be at least 600 feet from any residential zone and 200 feet from any community location. Pharmacy buildings would also be prohibited from exterior paint jobs and from having darkened or covered windows. Such facilities could only operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The ordinance would also prohibit signage from being displayed on or in exterior windows. Wall signs would be allowed, but limited to the name of the business, hours of operation and a green cross.
Montgomery also said that although each Utah city is required to include the medical marijuana use in an appropriate industrial or agricultural zone, the state is responsible for issuing the licenses and will only issue 10 total. So it’s conceivable that a cannabis production establishment might never actually locate in Ogden.
The Ogden City Council is expected to vote on the ordinance on Oct. 22.