Rochester City Council to propose limit on marijuana retailers

(ABC 6 News) – Monday’s Rochester City Council meeting could mark the first step in a new reality for local marijuana retailers ahead of the drug becoming legal statewide on August 1.

The City of Rochester wants to limit the number of marijuana retailers until at least January 2025. If this passes, that means there will only be one marijuana retailer allowed per every 12,500 people. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau report from 2020, Rochester has a population of more than 121,000. That breaks down to a limit of about nine to ten retailers.

“Up until all the excitement has died down until the dust has settled of the legalization, small businesses will be ready to have a product available. It’s an unfair advantage to big businesses and it’s just really kind of a shame I think,” said Joe Kinsella, the co-owner of Head in the Trees Wellness.

Head in the Trees was founded in 2018. Kinsella says this new law could be a big problem for those looking to start a business.

“No new cannabis businesses until January 1, 2025. Everybody that I know is hoping to do business, is hoping to be open and ready. You know, you hope to be able to be ready for consumers. You know, when it’s legal to have a recreational business open,” said Kinsella. “So I don’t know who wants this. It’s not business owners. It’s not the consumers.”

In the city council agenda, it lists a local control sub-section in the state statute to legalize marijuana. The council proposal says this gives time to consider additional potential zoning restrictions.

The council meeting is Monday at 7:00 p.m. in the Government Center Council Chamber.