The State of Missouri approved Missouri Amendment 2 on November 6th, 2018 by a 65.59% (yes) to 34.41% (no) margin. Missouri Amendment 2 was formally titled the Medical Marijuana and Veteran Healthcare Services Initiative. Ballotpedia cites that passage of this amendment legalized marijuana for medical purposes, would tax marijuana sales at four percent, and spend tax revenue on healthcare services for veterans.
The Missouri Department of Health and Human Services established a timeline based on the passage of Amendment 2 to begin accepting applications for qualifying patients within 180 days after December 6, 2018. Amendment 2 requires the department to begin accepting applications for dispensaries no later than 240 days after December 6, 2018. The department may accept or reject applications for dispensaries within 150 days of receiving them.
Ordinance B19-20 was approved for a second reading by a 5-0 vote by the Grain Valley Board of Aldermen during their meeting on Monday, July 22nd. The purpose of the ordinance would be to update Grain Valley’s Municipal Code to reflect legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri by Constitutional Amendment. Both Community Development Director Mark Trosen and City Attorney Joe Lauber informed the Board of Alderman of recommendations on regulations for the proposed ordinance in Grain Valley.
Alderman Totton expressed personal concerns about what medical marijuana coming to Grain Valley might mean.
“With the amendment that passed last fall, now if someone holds a qualifying patient card for medical marijuana, they would have a constitutional right to possess, to ingest, to have administered to them medical marijuana. Additionally, if a facility permit has been issued to a company or individual through the State’s process, then an individual holding a permit for a facility would have a constitutional right to locate that facility. The general ordinance will need to touch criminal and zoning ordinances so that the city has some control over how this will be utilized. It would be highly advisable that the Board would pass regulations. Otherwise, people may do what they want where they want,” Lauber said.
Trosen advised the board about some of the content found in the proposed ordinance up for review.
“In regard to what is in front of you today, this is the provision of the State Constitutional Amendment which would then be put into a new title within the cities code of ordinances that would then regulate medical marijuana within the city limits. Most of the language that is in the proposed bill is from the State Constitution.”
“As we talk about definitions and licensing there are a couple of sections that I want to bring to your attention. The first one pertains to the citing of the facilities as they exist and would be a distance from existing elementary and secondary schools, daycare, or church. The clause in here (the ordinance) pertains there would be a distance of 750 feet from those establishments,” Trosen said.
“That would be measured from the external wall of the proposed facility to the closest proximity of the property line of a school, daycare or church as measured as the shortest distance between those points that may be lawfully traveled by foot.”
The State of Missouri has set the maximum distance between a dispensary and qualifying places such as schools as 1,000 feet. Trosen advised the Board along with Lauber that the recommended reason for the distance of 750 feet is that it would be the maximum distance possible for a dispensary to be away from qualifying places without prohibiting their ability to exist within the city. Mayor Todd also commented that the number of dispensaries allowed in Missouri may be organized by congressional districts and that may limit the likelihood of one within Grain Valley.
Other language of the proposed ordinance brought to light for understanding included hours of operation for a potential dispensary. Facilities would not be allowed to be open to the public or make sales from the hours of 8:00pm to 8:00am. Zoning and traffic code also must be ironed out and proposed to the planning and zoning commission.
The City of Grain Valley is much like other communities and municipalities in Missouri, who are currently reading, discussing, questioning, and deciding what ordinances should exist to best balance serving the general interest of their residents along with abiding by Amendment 2.
In other business, Sapp Design Architects and Helix Architects + Design updated the Board on the timeline progress of the Sni-A-Bar Farms property for future city use as a municipal complex.
The next scheduled Board of Aldermen meeting will be held at City Hall on August 12th, 2019 at 7:00pm.