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P&Z tackles medical marijuana ordinance

Development Services Director Tim Porter addresses the city of Farmington Planning and Zoning Committee about medical marijuana ordinances to be proposed to the city council.

The Farmington Planning and Zoning Committee met Monday at its regular meeting at Long Hall to tackle the issue of where zoning will allow the establishment of medical marijuana businesses in the city.

Development Services Director Tim Porter drafted a preliminary set of ordinances regarding where the city will allow the placement of dispensaries, infused product facilities, cultivation facilities and transportation facilities.

“This is an ordinance draft to present the council for next month’s meeting related to Amendment 2,” he said. "Amendment 2 passed last November and as a result, Missouri became the 32nd state to legalize medical marijuana.”

Porter explained the timeline of the finalizing of state regulations and the availability of licenses to prospective medical marijuana distributors.

“The oversight agency at the state level is the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services,” he said. “They are drafting a set of rules and regulations that are not yet complete and will not necessarily be complete until June 4. Coinciding with the final rules and regulations, applications for the respective type of facilities will be made available to those wishing to apply for one of these facilities. Applications for these facilities will be accepted on Aug. 3.”

According to Porter, the state of Missouri is covering a wide range of issues with medical marijuana businesses, including a minimal amount of regulations regarding where they can be located.

“The idea that’s been conveyed to us is that they want the dispensaries to be in the same class that you would have a pharmacy in terms of patient access,” he said. “They don’t want it to be at the top of the mountain at Uncle Fester's cabin.

“We can implement controls within our local ordinance that controls where they can be located, hours of operation and things like that. What we can not do is effectively zone them out of town.”

When writing the draft ordinance, Porter referenced multiple sources in order to keep the city’s liabilities as low as possible.

“I tried to write this ordinance with the advice of our city attorney,” he said. “I looked at other cities and used advice from the Missouri Municipal League to keep us in bounds in terms of the parameters and keep us constitutionally sound.”

The Planning and Zoning Committee have made these recommendations to the Farmington City Council:

Due to intense power and water use of a marijuana cultivation and infusion facilities, the recommendation for the city council was to restrict cultivation to the industrial park.

All medical marijuana facilities are not to be less than 500 feet from an existing school, church or daycare.

Any dispensary will not be less than 1,000 feet from another dispensary.

Dispensary hours of operation may only take place between the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

Onsite usage of marijuana products is prohibited in any medical marijuana facility.

A medical marijuana license must be prominently displayed at every facility.

Any outside storage at any cultivation or infused product facility would have to be enclosed by a 10-foot fence with razor wire on top.

Porter explained that the final draft would be vetted by the city attorney before submitted to the city council, and there will be public notification of these recommendations before the city council meeting.

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Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at mmarberry@farmingtonpressonline.com.

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