Medical marijuana zoning approved

Missouri Amendment 2 passed with 65.5% approval last November legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri. At a recent meeting, Kirksville City Council members passed a zoning code expanding upon the amendment.

The zoning code allows for four different types of medical marijuana facilities: dispensaries, cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities and testing facilities.

“It was the view of the city council that dispensaries should be treated as pharmacies,” City Planner Chayton True said. “Ultimately, these dispensaries will be providing medicine for sick patients.”

True also said there are no particular places where dispensaries can and cannot be, according to the zoning code.

Amendment 2 also ensures patients have access to these products. True said the Council took this into consideration when discussing the zoning code.  

“In the language of Amendment 2, there is a default buffer [of 1,000 feet] that is required to be from these four medical marijuana facilities [to schools and churches],” True said. “Amendment 2 allows local municipalities to adjust that if they need to.”

True said if the 1,000 feet default buffer were in place, then there would be very limited locations for facilities in town.

Any cultivation, manufacturing or testing facility has to have a 300-foot buffer from any school or place of worship, according to the city’s zoning laws. True said the Council decided on that buffer, which deviates from the state law, to keep it similar with local liquor laws that require a 300-foot buffer.

“If they use the names cannabis or marijuana in their sign, it needs to be preceded by the term medical,” True said. “Any other phrase, word or symbols commonly understood to refer to marijuana uses, such words phrases or symbols, is imminently preceded by the word medical. We just want to make sure we have tasteful names of the businesses.”

As for the cultivation facilities, True said if growing is entirely enclosed, then it can be in the heaviest commercial, light industrial and heavy industrial districts. However, if some growing is performed outside, then the building would only be allowed in industrial zones.

True said manufacturing and testing facilities can be located in the extensive business and industrial districts.

True said any facility will help create jobs in the city. The dispensaries will have a sales tax collected, so that money could make a positive economic impact.