The city of Union is unsure of a dispensary location approved by the state meets its zoning requirements.
This past Friday, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Service (DHSS) announced the recipients of medical marijuana dispensary licenses. Dispensaries are where the medical marijuana can be sold to people with proper cards.
Union, like other cities, is treating the dispensaries like pharmacies. Last year the city set up zoning districts for medical marijuana industries and followed the state’s guidelines.
The city used the state’s distance requirement and said no medical marijuana industries could be within 1,000 feet of churches and schools.
So far DHSS has approved one Union business — a dispensary owned by Green Gryphon at 6 Dell Centre Way. The property is near Tractor Supply Co. and Oasis Lanes bowling alley.
The Union R-XI School District also is currently building the new Prairie Dell Elementary School on property adjacent to the bowling alley.
City Administrator Russell Rost said based on the city’s zoning code, he’s unsure if the approved dispensary would be permitted by the city. Without having measured, he said the school property is likely too close to any property along Dell Centre Way.
The city also is unsure how the measuring process works. City Attorney Matt Schroeder said the city hasn’t been told how the state is handling the 1,000 foot buffer.
The city doesn’t know if the measurement is done door to door, property line to property line or by some other measure. Rost said the city will be looking into the situation.
The city rejected the idea that the dispensary could be approved because the school building is still under construction. City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said the school district has owned the property for some time and started the process of planning and planning years ago.
The district received its construction permit before the dispensary even applied.
The only other applicant for a dispensary in Union was denied. Union Medical Marijuana Dispensary , 95 Independence Dr. did not get approved by the state.
Rost said that applicant was in constant contact with the city. He said the applicant checked on several possible locations before finding one that met the city’s zoning code.
The applicant constructed a building at the location, but the request for a permit was denied by DHSS.
Rost said the issue with the approved dispensary probably will end up involving litigation. He said he’s heard about a number of issues with the medical marijuana licenses around the state and the courts are preparing for an influx of cases.
Medicinal marijuana was legalized in Missouri in November 2018 through a constitutional amendment approved by voters.
DHSS has been tasked with implementing the new law, which states Missouri will issue ID cards to patients who have approval from their doctor that allows patients or caregivers to grow up to six marijuana plants and purchase marijuana from a registered dispensary.
Those cards can be applied for, and some have been issued, but legal medical marijuana is not available for purchase.
The state is required by the law to approve at least 60 commercial growers, 86 facilities that manufacture marijuana-infused products and 192 dispensary licenses.
There were no applications filed for testing labs or medical marijuana transportation facilities in Franklin County. A total of 60 licenses for medical marijuana cultivation facilities were given certification by the state. All 13 permit applications to grow medical marijuana in Franklin County were rejected.