Retired veterinarian seeks Willmar’s OK for medical marijuana production lab
WILLMAR — The Willmar Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday to consider a conditional use permit requested by retired veterinarian Dr. Marshall Brinton to allow a medical marijuana production lab/dispensary.
Brinton has requested the permit to operate the production lab/dispensary in laboratory facilities he owns at 208 Lakeland Dr. S.E.
The hearing will be held in the meeting room at the Willmar Fire Station, 515 Second St. S.E.
City Planner Megan DeSchepper said the conditional use permit is required because medical marijuana production is not listed as a land use in any section of the city zoning ordinance.
“Whenever we have a request for something that hasn’t been considered or isn’t in the ordinance, it requires a conditional use permit,’’ DeSchepper said.
Brinton, of Spicer, had operated a veterinary vaccine company in Willmar beginning in 1987 and produced vaccines for the commercial poultry industry (ducks, turkeys and geese). He was licensed in eight states, has three patents and two more pending. He retired five years ago.
Brinton, who is disabled, has had the 15,000-square-foot facility for sale for the past year. But he said no one is interested because the six different labs in the building are so specialized.
Brinton became interested in medical marijuana production after researching the medical marijuana law passed in May by the Minnesota Legislature.
“When Minnesota passed the law, I researched how to do this. But I discovered I’ve got most of the equipment in the building already,’’ he said.
Brinton said he will not decide whether or not to move forward with possible medical marijuana production until after the Planning Commission makes a decision. The permit would go to the City Council for final approval.
Brinton said the state application fee is $20,000.
“If the city says no, there is no point in going any further,’’ Brinton said. However, he hopes the city approves the proposal and he’ll go from there.