Like many municipalities in Alabama, Huntsville is considering allowing medical cannabis dispensaries to operate within its city limits but not without first carefully considering zoning options.

On Tuesday, the city put out a press release announcing it would be "taking cautious steps toward participating in Alabama's new medical cannabis system."

"After giving careful consideration to the new medical option, City administration believes making medical cannabis products available to qualified patients under the care of a physician would be beneficial for those suffering from chronic and terminal illnesses," the release stated.

Before moving ahead with approval, the city wants to devise a "well-thought-out" zoning plan to complement the already "heavy" regulations enacted by the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC).

The Huntsville Planning Commission analyzed different zoning proposals Wednesday. The city council will meet today to introduce an ordinance to approve dispensaries, as required by state law, and later vote on it on October 27.

So far, the AMCC has received 19 applications from cities and counties around the state, including Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Montgomery.

If approved, the zoning plan will then be finalized along with any changes to city tax and licensing requirements.

"We're taking a thoughtful and measured approach to make certain we get this right," Mayor Tommy Battle stated.

The mayor also highlighted how approving cannabis dispensaries for medical purposes has no bearing on recreational use, which is still considered a crime.

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