Albert Lea to pause new-off sale liquor, cannabis, sexually oriented, and tobacco businesses

(ABC 6 News) – Marijuana has been legal in Minnesota for almost a year. But those looking to open a cannabis business are facing some hurdles and in Albert Lea, there’s been a new challenge added to the mix.

The Albert Lea City Council is putting a pause on new off-sale liquor, cannabis, tobacco, and sexually oriented businesses. The moratorium will be six-months or less while council members figure out some new zoning rules for these types of stores in town.

This comes as Minnesota will begin allowing new marijuana businesses to open this coming January.

“We also have a lot of planning going on by private business owners assuming that there’s going to be a place and a certain place in the city for them. Also assuming they’re going to get a state license. So we kind of wanted to do a favor to the business community by holding this until those factors are known,” said Wayne Sorensen, a building and zoning official with the City of Albert Lea.

As for current business owners, they don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing.

“I think it’s good. We need a cap. Preferably, If you get, essentially steal from the pie, essentially everyone’s slice gets smaller. So I think it would be good if there was a cap on how many liquor stores are around,” Chad Gilbertson, the manager at Skyline Liquor tells ABC 6.

During this moratorium, the city will study which areas will be zoned for these types of businesses. Things like public health, neighboring properties, and safety will all be taken into consideration.

On May 22nd, city staff will present a proposed zoning ordinance. The public is invited to that open house to learn more and share their thoughts. That meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at City Hall.

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