Council overrides Kenney veto on bill that would impede dispensaries' potential conversion to recreational weed

Philadelphia City Hall
Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — City Council overrode Mayor Jim Kenney’s latest veto, of a spot zoning bill that will stop medical marijuana dispensaries in some parts of the city from converting to recreational sales if the state approves recreational use.

Kenney noted, in his veto message, that if the law changes, the state may impose regulations that would conflict with the bill’s provisions — especially because the bill would apply to a total of only five dispensaries in two out of 10 council districts. Councilmember Brian O’Neill’s northeastern district has two medical dispensaries. Councilmember Curtis Jones’ western and northwestern district has three. The state is keen on uniformity.

Furthermore, the mayor’s spokesperson says he doesn’t want barriers placed on local businesses.

None of those reasons swayed a single member. Council voted unanimously for the override.

Council President Darrell Clarke said he was not surprised.

“All members voted for this bill, so there’s no reason they would not be supportive of it the second time around,” he said.

This was the fifth veto of Kenney’s second term — and Council’s fifth veto override. Council voted for the override unanimously. Kenney has used his veto power sparingly this term, and none of them has been successful.

The only time the mayor has sustained a veto is when he pocket-vetoed six bills at the end of his first term. Council’s term had also ended so they couldn’t hold an override vote.

More spot zoning is on the horizon. Clarke introduced a bill to create an overlay zone in Brewerytown and Sharswood that would impose height limits and design controls on those rapidly redeveloping neighborhoods.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio