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The future of marijuana stores discussed by County Commission

Rick Patrick, Greene Publishing, Inc.

During the regular meeting of the Board of Madison County Commissioners on Wednesday, Dec. 28, the commissioners discussed medical marijuana dispensaries. County Attorney Tom Reeves compared medical marijuana dispensaries with liquor stores in terms of regulating location, number of dispensaries allowed, etc. “I feel the [State] legislature will take the same approach to medical marijuana dispensaries that they do with liquor stores. Such as so many dispensaries for so many people, having a lottery for licenses, etc.,” said Reeves. Reeves also suggested having one plan that would cover the entire county, both incorporated and unincorporated areas. The commissioners voted unanimously to have Reeves begin a county ordinance which would place a six month moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries. If passed, the ordinance would cover the City of Madison, the Town of Lee, and the Town of Greenville; unless those incorporated areas had conflicting ordinances, as well as the unincorporated parts of the county. This will provide time for the county to find out what actions the State Legislature will take regarding the regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries. Once the ordinance is written, it will have public hearings before possible passage by the board.

In other business for the board, discussion continued regarding the Lee Airport lease. The owner of the property offered to provide mowing for the airfield. By consensus of the board, Reeves will draw up a lease agreement.

Madison County Solid Waste and Recycling Coordinator Jerome Wyche addressed the commissioners regarding $72,482.74 in unpaid solid waste collection debts. Some of these accounts date as far back as 2011. The board voted to send these customers one more letter requesting payment before their accounts are turned over to a collection agency.

The board then had a discussion regarding nine thermal imaging cameras for the county's volunteer fire departments. Commissioner Vickers stated that only eight cameras had been ordered. George Blevins, from the Sirmans Volunteer Fire Department addressed the board and stated that he did not feel the need to have one of the cameras and he would rather use the money to pay toward a loan his department has with the fire board. On a four to one vote, the board voted to purchase the nine cameras. The dissenting vote was from Commissioner Martin.

The board also discussed funding requests for special projects from the State Legislature. Among the projects listed by the commissioners was the agricultural center, improvements at the court house, jail improvements, the Hwy 221 and I-10 interchange, and others. A prioritized list will be prepared for the Wednesday, Jan. 11 County Commission meeting. A legislative delegation is to be in Madison in February.

The next regular meeting of the Madison County Board of County Commissioners is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 9 a.m. The meeting will take place in the Courthouse Annex, located at 229 SW Pinckney St., in Madison.

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