Medical marijuana in Southaven and the mayor’s zoning concerns

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — It would send a big message if the third-largest city in Mississippi opted out of medical marijuana.

What might push Southaven to make that a reality is clarity on what power the city has or doesn’t have over zoning for marijuana dispensaries.

As FOX13 found out, not everybody agrees on what the city should do.

According to Mayor Darren Musselwhite, the city wants medical marijuana but wants it done right.

The mayor said the city is consulting with attorneys to determine if the law allows for the city to zone where dispensaries can go.

Southaven’s Jim Reid said he doesn’t like that idea.

“These are people who are sick and need medicine. Just like you wouldn’t regulate where you put a hospital or a clinic.” Reid said.

The city is concerned about how signage will be handled on the dispensaries.

Jim Durtschi of Southaven said the city has to have some regulations.

“I think regulation is good to a point. You want to keep the citizens safe and definitely the children. I mean you don’t build liquor stores near high schools do ya?” Durtschi said

Others disagree.

“If you are going to regulate it and only put it in one part of town then 80 percent of town that isn’t in that part of town may not be able to come over there. You are legalizing it, but you are not really giving it to the people,” Dylan Lomax of Southaven said.

The mayor said putting the dispensaries in a central area like in the medical district near Baptist DeSoto Hospital would make them easier to police.

He also said the city could opt out of the program for now and opt back in later if they found the law allowed for local zoning control.

Some here say opt-out and stay out.

“These can cause really serious problems in the community because you can not assure it will not be recreational or functions and it can cause violence and other troubles,” Cibele Pimenta of Southaven said.

Business owners FOX13′s Tom Dees talked to in Southaven would not go on camera. Some are OK with having a dispensary set up shop near them. Others want nothing to do with them