Moratoriums placed on medical marijuana, mobile homes in Siloam Springs

SILOAM SPRINGS -- The city's Board of Directors approved a pair of moratoriums June 20 to buy time for city code change on medical marijuana and mobile home trailer parks.

The moratoriums will temporarily prohibit applications from being made for medical marijuana groweries and dispensaries or for mobile home and manufactured home developments.

City staff proposed a 180-day moratorium to give the city government a chance to see finalized rules from the state government, which at the time of the meeting had only published a draft copy of proposed medical marijuana rules, said City Administrator Phillip Patterson.

Patterson also noted any prohibition of medical marijuana by the city could not originate with a member of city government. Instead, a member of the public would have to gather enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot for a vote. Though the state constitution amendment that allows medical marijuana passed in Benton County, it failed by a vote of 48 percent for to 52 percent against in Siloam Springs' voting precincts.

Director Frank Johnson agreed with the need for a moratorium.

"I don't get the feeling anyone knows what's going on," Johnson said.

Director Steve Beers also was in favor of the temporary ban while the state finalizes its rules and he noted the moratorium would not prohibit citizens from obtaining medical marijuana from other cities.

Director Brad Burns said he was in favor of medical marijuana, and said the sales of medical marijuana would help the elderly population and veterans. Burns also said the tax revenue the city could realize from medical marijuana sales deserved consideration.

Burns also said that he was in favor of the moratorium due to the uncertainty over state rules.

Director Carol Smiley motioned for the approval of the resolution, and it was approved 7-0.

City Attorney Jay Williams presented the second moratorium, which issued a 120-day ban on mobile home and manufactured home developments.

"We are very aware of the need for low-cost housing in this community," Williams said.

Williams said the city needed some time to examine its code on mobile home parks, as the code had not been updated in 16 years. The last approved mobile home development was built more than 20 years ago.

NW News on 07/04/2017