Dispensary location decisions pressing city board

Published 1:35 am Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Photo: The new Hybrid Relief cultivation facility in the Airport Industrial Park is nearing completion.

Batesville aldermen continue to muddle through the details of the coming medical marijuana businesses.

An effort to opt out of allowing cannabis sales and associated efforts in the city failed last month when Aldermen Dennis Land and Bill Duggar were outvoted by Aldermen Teddy Morrow, Stan Harrison, and Bobby Walton.

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Since then aldermen have relied heavily on research by Attorney Colmon Mitchell, Chief Building Officer Andy Berryhill and others to help formulate a plan about where marijuana businesses, especially dispensaries, will be located within the city limits.

The Panola County Board of Supervisors did not entertain a motion to opt out, with board members there saying each application for a business will be dealt with independently by the Land Use and Development Commission with board oversight.

So far, the only major marijuana project in the county is a site for cultivation currently under construction in the Airport Industrial Park. Other buildings have been erected, or are in the planning stages, in other parts of the county, but the construction by Hybrid Relief is the largest and most advanced.

Tony Barragan, who owns CBD related businesses in Oxford, has led the construction of the Hybrid Relief cultivation facility. He said this week the company is waiting for HVAC units, lighting, and shelving to finish construction.

“We look forward to putting our first seeds in the dirt no later than September or October,” Barragan said. “Our first harvest will be late December or January if things go as planned.”

Barragan said his time now is spent helping others research the state regulations and helping people understand the state’s application process through the Mississippi State Department of Health’s online portal for new practitioners, work permits for employees, new patient registration and new caregiver registration.

Additionally, Barragan said, potential investors have questions every day about what opportunities are available, and in what areas of medical marijuana.

“I have people calling and wanting to know about the different types of applications, including transportation, testing, disposal and the whole range,” Barragan said. “I think people realize that now is the time to invest in a business, or begin a new career, or take any number of opportunities that are opening in this market.”

Batesville aldermen have heard one presentation by local citizens Enos Gee and Clayton Self last month, and were scheduled to hear from the pair again at Tuesday’s board meeting, who want to open a dispensary in the small brick building located at the corner of Hwy. 6 and Farrish Gravel Road.

“We grew up here and love Panola County and we want to do this to give back to our community,” Gee told board members.

Because the building sits on land that only recently was annexed into the city, it currently has no zoning assignment, other than the agriculture zoning it carried as part of the county. Among the other matters the city board is scheduled to discuss concerning marijuana is what zone the sales will be allowed and when.

State regulations monitor much of what is allowed and where, but local governments are left a certain amount of leeway. City board members hope to have the zoning and location questions answered before July 1.