The city of Washington is going to be home to at least one medical marijuana business.
Last week the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) issued two licenses for medical marijuana-infused products manufacturing facilities with Washington addresses.
Noah’s Arc Foundation, located at lot 12 of the Heidmann Industrial Park, is inside the city limits. The other recipient, MR 5025 OH100, is located at 5025 Old Highway 100, just outside the city limits on the site of the of old Seco Products Corporation building.
Based on city zoning, the Noah’s Arc Foundation doesn’t require any additional permits in order to operate. When the city approved its medical marijuana zoning, it decided to treat the businesses like any other manufacturing company.
Marijuana-infused products are products infused with marijuana or an extract thereof and are intended for use or consumption by a means other than smoking, according to DHSS. Among possible products are edibles, ointments and concentrates.
Sal Maniaci, city community and economic development director, said the city expects to know more about Noah’s Arc’s plans in the coming weeks.
Washington Police Chief Ed Menefee said his department would like to have more information from DHSS about the medical marijuana.
The city officially will have one business, but could have a dispensary when DHSS issues licenses for those businesses.
“By the Missouri Constitution, it’s legal now,” he said. “As long as they have a license, it’s legal. They have to have certain security protocols to have their business, which is all spelled out and regulated by health services.”
Menefee said the approved infusion operation will be treated just like every other manufacturing operation in the industrial park.
Police will patrol the area like normal, he said. There may be extra patrols because the operation could be a higher-profile target.
“For the manufacturer, the biggest concern with security will be break-ins and things like that,” he said. “There shouldn’t be much of the public dealing with them because they’re not selling.”
All medical marijuana facilities have to meet certain security requirements.
“The department of health will dictate to them what type of security measures they have to have,” Menefee said. “A dispensary, from what I read, has to have a security guard on site and you can only have access to the building with a card. You can’t just walk in.”
Menefee said at issue with the security measures is DHSS hasn’t communicated what exactly the full requirements are. He said police are in the dark somewhat.
“It’s still confusing because the department of health has not really set firm guidelines,” he said. “It’s kind of late in the game for them not to know what they’re going to do yet.
“We want direction as to what security these places have to have in place,” he said.
Menefee said the city also would like to know just who can be at the infusion facility.
“On the premises, (we want to know) what they’re going to allow,” he said. “You’re not allowed on the premises of a dispensary unless you have a card, so you shouldn’t be in there window shopping.”
Menefee said there are other issues that need to be ironed out by DHSS. If the city is approved for a dispensary, he said the amount of cash potential on hand is concerning.
“The biggest issue, which is not surprising to anyone, since it’s a federal crime, they can’t take the cash they make and put it in the bank,” he said. “What do they do with the cash they make?”
The potential for a lot of cash on hand would make the dispensary a target. Menefee said he hoped DHSS would communicate with local police before the operations get underway.
The other Washington area applicant must comply with county regulations unless it’s annexed into the city.