Unlike neighboring cities, the Madison City Council voted down an ordinance on Monday that would have allowed medical cannabis dispensaries to operate within its city limits.

In a 4-2 decision, councilmembers who voted against the ordinance cited issues with enforcing regulations and dealing with the added traffic they would attract, WHNT reported.

“There are enough areas of access that our residents could seek the help that they need,” councilwoman Karen Denzine said. “I weigh our police chief’s opinions quite heavily and when [he] is recommending to us to exercise caution, to see how this plays out in surrounding areas, I consider that very heavily.”

Other councilmembers argued that with nearby cities Athens, Huntsville and Decatur already approving dispensaries, Madison City residents in need of medical marijuana should have options nearby.

“I don’t think the risk is worth the reward,” councilman Greg Shaw said. “If you want it, you can drive to Huntsville, or a loved one can drive to Huntsville, Decatur, Athens and pick that up. But for me, I’m not for having that here in our community.”

According to WAFF, councilman Teddy Powell’s main concern was that the dispensaries would be cash businesses, making it nearly impossible to track the money made from medical cannabis sales.

Council members Connie Spears and Maura Wroblewski voted for the ordnance and invited members of the public to speak in its favor. One speaker, a local oncologist, told how he’d seen medical marijuana help cancer patients, WAFF reported.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email daniel.taylor@1819news.com.

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