Regulation of the sale and public use of marijuana in Winnebago has been put on hold.
At the recommendation of City Attorney David Frundt, City Council hit the pause button at their meeting Wednesday night.
They voted unanimously to impose a moratorium prohibiting the operation of cannabis businesses in the city.
Frundt says the state has yet to establish the Office of Cannabis Management, which will be responsible for issuing business licenses and developing model ordinances and policies.
“We are not going to do anything that would allow sales during the two-year period,” says Frundt. “We are going to study the issue, find out what the state is going to require and then come up with a plan.”
State officials estimate it will take until at least 2025 before retail dispensaries open outside of tribal territories. Persons will have to be 21 to purchase marijuana at a retail shop.
Council members also did not take any action restricting the smoking or vaping of pot in public.
“We’ll have an ordinance that addresses tobacco and marijuana smoking at the next council meeting,” says Frundt.
Council members have directed Frundt to update the city’s tobacco ordinance which was adopted in 1997 and still refers to the legal age for purchasing and using tobacco products as 18 instead of 21.
While the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in specific indoor settings, it does not regulate outdoor use unless local government units restrict it in certain locations.
Frundt says council members could approve an ordinance that would not allow smoking of marijuana in public use areas such as parks, sidewalks or near schools.
For now, the state is one of four states that allows public use of marijuana unless a local ordinance does not allow it.