Columbia commission close to finalizing marijuana recommendation

Public hearing held Thursday evening

Medical marijuana zoning

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia's Planning and Zoning Commission discussed zoning standards for medical marijuana facilities during a public hearing Thursday evening. 

The commission held several work sessions to finalize a draft with regulations for each of the four facility types identified in state law: dispensaries, cultivation facilities, medical marijuana-infused product manufacturers and testing facilities.

Commissioner Micheal MacMann said city staff wrote the regulations and the commission gave input. 

The final draft will be given to the city council and recommends facilities have a 1,000 foot buffer from schools, day cares and churches. The buffer requirement follows standards approved under Amendment 2, the ballot measure voters passed in November that green-lighted medical marijuana in Missouri.

Some community members said they disagree with the 1,000 foot buffer rule.

"In some towns, and Columbia is one of them, there would be no dispensaries in the entire downtown area unless that requirement is waived," said New Approach Missouri President Dan Viets.

He said St. Louis and Kirksville have completely eliminated the distance regulation.

"Boonville is considering reducing it dramatically," he said. "There's no reason why Columbia should not do the same thing."

Dispensaries located downtown can only operate on the second floor for safety reasons under the draft regulations, according to the commission's agenda report. 

Steven Faber, president of Columbia's Mid Mo Norml chapter, said a second floor requirement might limit access for people with wheel chairs.

City staff have asked the commission and city council to put together local rules and regulations before the Department of Health and Human Services releases application criteria and state rules on June 4.

The city council will hold a public hearing about the draft on June 3rd.

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