A total of 19 applications were filed in hopes of becoming one of the 2 medical marijuana growers in the state. We know Morton County will not be one of the counties where marijuana is grown. In tonight’s top story, Shelby Rose tells us why the County Commission said no to the grow.
Last week, Riverbound Farm out of St. Anthony went before the Morton County Commission to ask for a speical use permit. That permit would be for growing medical marijuana. And neighbors weren’t happy.
“Geographically, these are people that lived through about a full year of criminal activity in the area due to the protest. So, I sympathize with that, but the wording in the motion was the conflict between state and federal law. In my mind that was not a reason to deny it,” said commissioner Cody Schulz.
Marijuana, whether used medically or recreationally, is federally illegal. That’s were the problem lies with some of the commissioners. Schulz was the only county comissioner to vote yes on the Riverbound application.County Commissioner Bruce Strinden says his reason for turning down the permit was the response time for Sheriff’s department. It would have been 20 minutes if there was a problem at the farm. He considered that too long. The motion failed in a 3 to 1 vote.
Commissioner Andy Zachmeier said, “It is in violation of federal law. I would be approving a criminal act, and I can’t do that.”
Zachmeier says he would be a no vote for anything having to do with medical marijuana in morton county, whether it be a grower or dispensary. And being in law enforcement for 25 years, he took an oath of office to uphold law, both state and federal.
Zachmeier added, “What’s never really is covered is the amount of pressures this is going to put on local law enforcement.”
Meaning if any federal agency were to come in with a warrant for these businesses, local law enforcement would be the ones to carry it out. But the changing times are not lost on him.
“I do believe within a year or two, medical marijuana and even recreational marijuana may be legal in all 50 states. But we’re not there yet.,” said Zachmeier.
The application process for the 8 dispensaries has not been opened yet. A timeline will be established once the two growers are selected.