Mallory Herrmann

The city council is preparing to consider the regulations and requirements they want to put in place to support medical cannabis, which was approved by Missouri voters last year. The council heard an update on the matter at their May 14 work session.

City staff have been in conversation with other communities that have legalized cannabis for medicinal and/or recreational purposes to learn how they’re handling licensing, permitting and enforcement. While the amendment to the state constitution that legalizes medical use in the state does allow cities to create their own regulations, cities cannot create regulations that are “unduly burdensome” on citizens obtaining the substance. That is, cities cannot outright ban cannabis or implement rules that make it nearly impossible to get.

One of the stipulations of the state amendment states that cities can create a maximum buffer of 1,000 feet between industry-related facilities (including dispensaries and extraction facilities) and schools, daycares or churches. But as city staff noted, that sort of buffer will reduce tremendously the properties that could then be available for such use. Brian Head, city attorney, noted that some cities are choosing to require a smaller buffer in order to avoid falling into the realm of unduly burdensome requirements.

Other factors that the city will be considering are business licensing, restrictions on time and day of sale (as has been done for alcohol sales) and adding vaping to the city’s no-smoking ordinance to ban vaping in public places. State law prohibits any form of cannabis use in public spaces, but city staff recommend adding the vaping restriction for clarity.

Head hopes that the city will have their own rules in place by July 1. The council’s community and economic development committee (CEDC) will review a draft ordinance in June ahead on consideration by the full council. In July, the CEDC expects to consider business licensing changes and amendments to the criminal code.

No action was taken by the council at the work session. All councilmembers were present.