The rest of the council felt the ordinance, which also lifted a temporary moratorium on medical cannabis dispensaries in Doraville, was a necessary precaution. While no current business in the city sells these products, the city attorney previously said he’s heard there is interest in the metro Atlanta market.
State law dictates that only 30 medical marijuana dispensaries can open in Georgia. Recreational marijuana, which is illegal in Georgia, typically has a much higher proportion of THC than medicinal cannabis. State law also requires THC products to be prescribed by a doctor and filled by a pharmacist.
Georgia allows for the manufacturing and dispensing of oils with a THC content up to 5%. While there’s a statewide commission over licensing, it’s up to local governments to dictate zoning restrictions.
Yeoman said the city’s limit is likely a moot point, given only a few dozen of these businesses can operate throughout the state.
“We would never get two,” he said. “It’s not possible for us to ever get two, so I’m not sure why that needs to be in the ordinance.”
Doraville’s ordinance also limits medical marijuana dispensaries to 10,000 square feet to prohibit large operations from moving into the city. Mayor Joseph Geierman said limiting the size and number of any business can be beneficial for cities.
“We don’t want too many of any single business,” Geierman said. “You don’t necessarily want a liquor store on every block either.”
Councilwoman Stephe Koontz agreed, adding that she would rather have restrictions on the books at this point in case state law changes.
“Right now it’s not a problem, but I don’t want to be chasing this problem in the future,” she said. “... I would rather be a little cautious on this rather than be in the future, ‘Wow, I wish we did something.’”
Doraville became at least the second Georgia city to take this preemptive step by regulating marijuana dispensaries. Alpharetta issued a similar moratorium last year and decided to pass its own regulations.