In response to the enactment of Amendment 2 to the Missouri Constitution, which allows marijuana to be used for medical purposes, the government of the City of St. Louis is considering an ordinance to regulate it. Board Bill No. 2, pertaining to the regulation of medical marijuana facilities in the City, was introduced on May 3, 2019 for a first reading before the Board of Aldermen. The proposed ordinance anticipates the August 3 deadline for the state to begin accepting license applications from medical marijuana facilities. Several other Missouri cities have passed medical marijuana ordinances, and many more cities might well follow.
Background on Amendment 2
Voters approved Amendment 2 last November, making Missouri the 32nd state to allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes. Among other things, Amendment 2 establishes the framework for state licensing of prescribed medical marijuana facilities and the issuance of identification cards to qualifying patients and those facilitating patient treatment. It also makes the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) the state’s primary medical marijuana regulator, and it charges DHSS with promulgating regulations outlined by Amendment 2, which would include establishing the application and approval process for licensing medical marijuana facilities and issuing individual identification cards. DHSS needs to meet the following dates in implementing Amendment 2.
- June 4, 2019: Applications to be made available for medical marijuana facilities and qualifying patients.
- July 4, 2019: DHSS to begin accepting applications for identification cards for qualifying patients and facilities.
- Aug. 3, 2019: DHSS to begin accepting facility applications.
- Aug. 4, 2019: DHSS to begin approving or denying applications for identification cards accepted beginning on July 4, 2019.
- Aug. 17, 2019: Final day for submitting facility applications to DHSS by close of business
- Dec. 31, 2019: DHSS to begin approving or denying medical marijuana facility applications accepted beginning on August 3, 2019.
Amendment 2 limits cities’ authority to regulate medical marijuana, both by enumerating limits on such ordinances or regulations and by prohibiting any that make the operation of medical marijuana facilities “unduly burdensome.” Municipalities may regulate the time, place, and manner of the operation of medical marijuana facilities. For example, Amendment 2 permits a city to decrease Amendment 2's 1,000-foot buffer between a medical marijuana facility and any elementary or secondary school ("school"), child daycare center ("daycare"), or church.
City of St. Louis Proposed Ordinance – Board Bill No. 2
As proposed, Board Bill No. 2 would add a new chapter to the zoning code that would regulate the location of and establish site requirements for medical marijuana facilities. The proposal would remove Amendment 2’s distance requirement from schools, daycares, and churches, instead using the city’s current zoning districts. The ordinance would adopt the four classifications for medical marijuana facilities defined in Amendment 2—cultivation facilities, dispensaries, infused products manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities—and it would group them under the added category “Medical Marijuana Facility,” defined as a facility licensed by DHSS to acquire, certify, cultivate, deliver, dispense, manufacture, process, sell, store, test, transport, or warehouse medical marijuana.
Medical Marijuana Facility Site Requirements
The proposed ordinance would require that all Medical Marijuana Facilities:
- be monitored by high resolution, color, internet-based security cameras, which must be made available to law enforcement upon request;
- contain a fireproof safe or vault attached to the building’s structure to secure cash and any processed marijuana;
- have a centrally monitored fire and burglar alarm system;
- equip building exteriors and parking areas with light fixtures that are sufficient to provide illumination of at least 1.5 foot-candles and that must be on from dusk to dawn;
- not produce noise, dust, vibration, glare, fumes, odors, or electrical interference that can be readily noticed outside the property’s boundary;
- secure marijuana waste disposal receptacles and ensure they remain in the possession and under the control of the licensee;
- post a state-issued license inside the building, visible to the public;
- prohibit onsite consumption of marijuana or marijuana-infused products; and
- require any and all marijuana cultivation, processing, storage, display, and sales to be conducted within an enclosed building not visible from the building’s exterior.
Moreover, all Medical Marijuana Facilities must comply with DHSS' and the City’s regulations.
Categories of Medical Marijuana Facilities
- Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility – a facility licensed by DHSS to acquire, cultivate, process, store, transport, and sell marijuana to Medical Marijuana Testing Facilities, Medical Marijuana-Infused Products Manufacturing Facilities, and Medical Marijuana Dispensary Facilities.
- Medical Marijuana Testing Facility – a facility licensed by DHSS to acquire, test, certify, and transport marijuana.
- Medical Marijuana-Infused Products Manufacturing Facility – a facility licensed by DHSS to acquire, store, manufacture, transport, and sell marijuana-infused products to Medical Marijuana Testing Facilities, other Medical Marijuana-Infused Products Manufacturing Facilities, and Medical Marijuana Dispensary Facilities.
- Medical Marijuana Dispensary Facility – a facility licensed by DHSS to acquire, store, sell, transport, and deliver marijuana, marijuana-infused products, and drug paraphernalia used to administer marijuana, to qualifying patients, primary caregivers, Medical Marijuana Testing Facilities, Medical Marijuana-Infused Products Manufacturing Facilities, and other Medical Marijuana Dispensary Facilities.
Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facilities and Medical Marijuana-Infused Products Manufacturing Facilities
Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facilities and Medical Marijuana-Infused Products Manufacturing Facilities would be subject to the same requirements under the proposed ordinance.
These facilities would be required to have an armed security guard on the premises at all times and be equipped with an odor mitigation system.
They would be permitted in current zoning districts I (Central Business Districts), J (Industrial Districts), K (Unrestricted Districts), and L (the Jefferson Memorial District). In addition, these facilities could operate in current zoning districts H (Area Commercial Districts) upon authorization from the Zoning Administrator in accordance with Title 26 of the Zoning Code. This would be less restrictive than the zoning for oiled goods manufactured from raw materials, which are permitted only in zoning district K. However, the zoning for these two marijuana-related facilities would more restrictive than that for bars, taverns, and packaged liquor stores, which are permitted in zoning districts H, I, J, K, and L and conditionally in zoning district F (Neighborhood Commercial Districts).
Medical Marijuana Testing Facilities
Like cultivation and infused product manufacturing facilities, Medical Marijuana Testing Facilities would also be required to have an armed security guard on the premises at all times.
- They would be permitted in the same zones as laboratories: I (Central Business Districts), J (Industrial Districts), K (Unrestricted Districts), and L (the Jefferson Memorial District).
Medical Marijuana Dispensary Facilities
Qualified patients and primary caregivers will be permitted to purchase medical marijuana and medical marijuana-infused products only from state-licensed Medical Marijuana Dispensary Facilities. These facilities would be required to:
- be located in and operated from a permanent and fixed structure;
- not provide delivery services, unless allowed by state law;
- display a sign on the building interior indicating that a patient identification card or primary caregiver identification card must be presented in order to make purchases;
- prohibit sales to customers while in their vehicles, through a drivethrough, or to customers who use the products while parked on the premises;
- limit hours of operation from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day of the week;
- obtain required permits for all signs, which must be attached to the buildings and cannot be temporary or extend higher than 15 feet above grade or beyond the building roof;
- refrain from boardingup or otherwise covering windows except with “proper blinds and curtains”; and
- refrain from placing any string lighting around doors or windows.
Such facilities would be permitted in zoning districts G (Local Commercial & Office Districts), I (Central Business Districts), J (Industrial Districts), K (Unrestricted Districts), and L (the Jefferson Memorial District) and conditionally in zoning district F (Neighborhood Commercial Districts). This would make dispensaries slightly more restricted than drug stores, which are permitted unconditionally in zoning district F (Neighborhood Commercial Districts) and conditionally in zoning districts D and E (Multiple-Family Dwelling Districts).
New and Proposed Ordinances in Other Missouri Communities
Maryland Heights, Webster Groves, Creve Coeur, and Kirksville are among the earlier Missouri communities to pass ordinances regulating medical marijuana facilities. These ordinances illustrate various ways of modifying Amendment 2's 1,000-foot distance requirement from schools, daycares, and churches.
- Maryland Heights became the first city in the St. Louis region to regulate medical marijuana, passing zoning code amendments in January 2019. The city’s ordinance adopted Amendment 2’s 1,000-foot distance requirement.
- Webster Groves adopted Amendment 2’s 1,000-foot distance requirement from schools and churches but reduced it to 500 feet from daycares, added a 1,000-foot distance requirement from public parks, and added a 150-foot distance requirement from other such facilities.
- Creve Coeur specified a distance requirement only between Medical Marijuana Dispensary Facilities and schools, set at 300 feet.
- Kirksville reduced to 300 feet the distance requirement between cultivation, testing, and manufacturing facilities and schools, churches, and daycares, and eliminated the distance requirement for dispensary facilities.
Columbia, Clayton, Jefferson City, and Cape Girardeau are currently considering medical marijuana ordinances.
- Columbia’s City Council is reviewing a draft ordinance that would retain the 1,000-foot distance requirement from schools, daycares, and churches. For the downtown area, it would require dispensaries to be on the second story of buildings, for the safety of patients leaving those facilities.
- Clayton's Plan Commission met on May 6 and will meet again on May 20 to review a proposed regulation. The current proposal would reduce the distance requirement for schools, daycares, and churches to 200 feet, which is consistent with how the city currently restricts the location of liquor stores.
- Jefferson City’s current proposal would regulate cultivation, testing, and marijuana-infused product manufacturing facilities and would maintain Amendment 2’s 1,000-foot buffer for each.
- Cape Girardeau’s Planning and Zoning Commission recently submitted a proposal that would maintain Amendment 2’s 1,000-foot distance requirement between all medical marijuana facilities and any school, daycare, or church. The city hopes to approve an ordinance by July.
Although Kansas City has not announced proposed regulations, its City Council passed a resolution last month directing the City Manager to begin developing a regulatory scheme.