City of Benton changes zoning to allow medical marijuana facilities

Monday night, city council members in Benton voted to amend zoning regulations to allow medical marijuana facilities. (KATV)

The City of Benton has changed zoning regulations to clear the way for medical marijuana facilities.

Monday night, city leaders voted to pass ordinance no. 52 of 2017. It allows pharmacies, cultivation centers, and dispensaries to be built in retail areas.

A pharmacy or dispensary can be built in C2, C3 and L1 zones of the city. Cultivation facilities can only be placed as a permitted use within the L1 zone.

“The choices that were made were in line with putting them in those areas which is condusive to where a retail pharmacy would be located as well,” said City of Benton Mayor David Mattingly.

The facilities would go in places like Military Road.

However, there will still be areas where the businesses won't be allowed to set up shop.

"Not in residential areas, not in typical areas that are close to churches childcare centers," said Mattingly.

Even though zoning now creates a place for the facilities to go, Mattingly still doesn't want them in the city.

"I still don't think this is the way we should be going,” said Mattingly. “If I had greater influence or had been asked, I would have said, ‘why aren't we doing this in pharmacies with all the other kind of drugs?’” said Mattingly. “Why have we created a whole new industry?"

Mattingly says he's also worried about security.

With heavy cash flow expected at medical marijuana facilities, he wants to make sure the locations can be properly secured.

Mattingly says as of Monday night, the city hasn't received any applications for either type of facility.

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