Columbia is on track to become the first municipality in Lancaster County to zone for medical marijuana businesses since Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana last year.

Borough Council last week voted unanimously to authorize its solicitor to amend the zoning ordinance, incorporating suggestions received from the Lancaster County Planning Commission. The proposed legislation allows medical marijuana dispensaries and growers or processors in parts of town zoned light industrial.

Those areas where businesses could operate include Deascenti Drive, a small section east of Ninth Street and north of Wright Street, an area south of Avenue N and east of Fifth Street, as well as a portion northwest of Cedar Street.

Officials said that without zoning regulations for the legal marijuana industry, any potential dispensary in accordance with Pennsylvania law would be able to open in more locations.

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During the Oct. 9 meeting, Councilwoman Mary Wickenheiser noted that no dispensary is planning on coming to Columbia at this time. Defining the zoning regulations was done preemptively, she said.

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“This is not Colorado,” Wickenheiser said in response to a resident who asked if the borough would be hiring additional police officers for security.

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Lancaster County Planning Commission signed off on the ordinance at its meeting in September, while the borough planning commission recommended approval of the zoning change Aug. 21.

The ordinance will go before the borough legislative committee at 6 p.m. Thursday when any amendments to the ordinance will be considered.

After that meeting, the ordinance will be re-advertised for adoption and voted on at the Borough Council meeting Nov. 9.

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