The city of Coon Rapids may have a medical cannabis dispensary in the future.

Leafline Labs, a Minnesota medical marijuana dispensary chain, wants to open a location in Coon Rapids.

The City Council introduced two related ordinances July 6, one to define medical cannabis dispensaries and another to amend the current tobacco definition to allow medical cannabis to be consumed via electronic devices.

Currently, city code doesn’t have any guidance surrounding medical cannabis. City staff don’t believe the dispensary could be considered a pharmacy, general retail or medical clinic, which are all defined in city code, according to city documents.

Medical marijuana is legal in Minnesota, but it is tightly regulated. Only two manufacturers are allowed in the state, and there can only be one distribution center per manufacturer per congressional district.

Coon Rapids’ draft ordinance defines a medical cannabis dispensary as “a distribution facility in the form of a retail store that sells and distributes medical cannabis products defined, authorized and regulated by” state statute. The drafted ordinance allows medical cannabis dispensaries only in the community commercial district.

Neighboring Blaine has its own medical cannabis dispensary at 672 County Highway 10, which is in the city’s community commercial district. The city’s definition is identical to Coon Rapids’ proposed ordinance.

Coon Rapids’ ordinance makes no mention of recreational marijuana, should the drug be legalized in Minnesota.

“This only applies to medical cannabis,” City Attorney David Brodie said.

Council Member Kari Rehrauer said her mother tried medical marijuana to help relieve the pain from lung cancer. She noted that the process for obtaining the marijuana is secure and safe.

“I don’t have concerns over this coming to Coon Rapids,” Rehrauer said.

Given the ongoing opioid crisis, Council Member Pat Carlson sees medical marijuana as a worthy alternative for pain management.

“I think it’s a viable alternative, where it works, and when it applies to [people who need it],” Carlson said.

The city also introduced an ordinance to amend the tobacco definition to allow the consumption of medical cannabis via an electronic device, such as a vape pen. The ordinance currently allows only FDA-approved products to be consumed with an electronic device. The FDA does not approve the use of medical cannabis, but state law does.

The ordinance makes no mention of the use of these devices indoors, but state law does prohibit that use, Brodie said.

The council will vote on the new ordinance and the amended ordinance July 20.

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