The Whitefish City Council last week adopted a zoning ordinance to allow recreational adult-use marijuana sales in its downtown and secondary business districts, unanimously approving a framework for pot dispensaries to begin opening storefronts and selling their products after the new year.
Council arrived at the final set of rules after careful deliberation, sending an earlier draft ordinance back to planners for revisions last month while acknowledging the urgent need to have a written ordinance in place before entrepreneurs begin queuing up with permit applications next month.
“I have a feeling that we’re going to have people sleeping outside our office,” said Dave Taylor, Whitefish’s director of Planning and Building, who noted that even with the relatively inclusive zoning language, there is a premium on available retail and manufacturing space.
Voters approved the use and sale of recreational marijuana in the November 2020 election and Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the “Montana Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act,” or House Bill 701, this past May. The Department of Revenue will begin accepting license applications on Jan. 1, 2022. The city of Whitefish will likely see licensed medical marijuana providers intending to open recreational businesses as early as mid-February due to the month-long