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ALTON - The Alton Committee of the Whole preliminarily approved amendments to the City Code regarding the zoning districts cannabis businesses are allowed to open/operate in, as well as minor changes to cannabis license renewal and parking space requirements.

Dan Lytle spoke on behalf of Subsero Alton Ops during the meeting’s Public Comment portion to ask when the public will be able to review and comment on the proposed ordinance.

“I represent Subsero Alton Ops, and they are an entity that’s been involved with a piece of real estate, that already owns a location [at] 1400 E. Broadway in Alton. It’s previously housed an adult [use] cannabis dispensary,” he said. “With respect to item five, I just have a question - in terms of timing, what is the expected timeline at which time any proposed text amendment might be disseminated for public review and comment?”

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City Attorney Tonya Genovese responded that while they could not have a “back and forth” with Lytle, they would discuss the matter further after the meeting. The dispensary which was “previously housed” at 1400 E. Broadway as Lytle indicated was The Alton Dispensary, which has accused Subsero of evicting them from their original location, misappropriating $1.8 million in company funds, stealing about $140,000 in cannabis products and selling them out of a different location, launching a retaliatory cyberattack campaign on their social media pages and point-of-sale systems, and more.

Alton Dispensary President and CEO Jeremy Wysocki previously asked the Alton City Council at their Dec. 20, 2023, meeting to consider expanding the zoning districts dispensaries are allowed to operate in after informing council members of the situation with Subsero up to that point and announcing they had found a new building in a previously restricted zoning district.

The proposed amendments expand the available zoning districts for cannabis businesses to open/operate in, with different districts for certain types of businesses. Adult-use cannabis dispensaries are still limited to one per each of the city’s two dispensary zones, but are now allowed within C-2 General Commercial Districts and C-5 Heavy Commercial Districts. Adult-use cannabis lounges are also limited to one per each of the city’s two dispensary zones and are also allowed within the same zoning districts as dispensaries.

Adult-use cannabis craft growers, adult-use cannabis infuser organizations, and adult-use cannabis processing organizations are all allowed within M-1 Light Industrial Districts as well as C-5 Heavy Commercial Districts. Adult-use cannabis cultivation centers (“under cover and open field”) and adult-use cannabis transporting organizations are both allowed within M-1 Light Industrial Districts.

The ordinance also makes a few other minor changes. Cannabis businesses in Alton are already required to register for a cannabis license on a yearly basis and pay an annual license fee of $5,000, but the date these licenses expire each year has been changed from April 30 to December 31. The ordinance also removes a requirement for adult-use cannabis dispensaries to have a minimum of 75 parking spaces.

After passing by a unanimous vote from the Committee of the Whole, the item now goes on to the Alton City Council for final approval on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024. The Committee of the Whole meeting from Monday is available at the top of this story, on the Riverbender.com Facebook page, or on Riverbender.com/video.

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