By Mallory Herrmann

The city council is preparing to decide how to address regulating the use of medical marijuana in Lee’s Summit. Missouri voters approved legalization of medical marijuana this month by supporting Constitutional Amendment 2. There are now 33 states in the country where medical cannabis is legal.

Councilmember Rob Binney brought up the subject during the council comments portion of their Nov. 13 regular session. He also suggested that as the city considers how to proceed with marijuana regulation, they also revisit the subject of vaping. Councilmember Bob Johnson agreed that the conversation about marijuana was an important one for the city to have, but suggested caution in making decisions before the state has created their own regulations.

The council had previously discussed possible responses should one or more of the three marijuana-related ballot measures be approved by voters. Brian Head, city attorney, told the mayor and councilmembers that the two ordinances currently proposed would be too restrictive to adopt. The ordinances were drafted by the health education advisory board and accepted, though not approved, by the council ahead of the November election.

Head said that the first of those ordinances was to prohibit the use of marijuana outright, a regulation that cities will be unable to make per a clause in the amendment. He said that the amendment allows cities to designate the “time, place and manner” in which marijuana can be sold and used within city limits, but that they cannot enact rules or regulations that will make it “unduly burdensome” for patients.

Additional information will be presented to the council at next week’s joint session with the planning commission. The presentation will include information about how the state legislation is expected to affect many facets of the city’s operations, from human resources and the city prosecutor to planning and zoning and business licenses. Head also suggested that the city should consider an administrative hold on any applications the city might receive for related developments until regulations are enacted.

The city council’s joint meeting with the planning commission is scheduled for Tues., Nov. 20.