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Council refines medical marijuana ordinance

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Medical marijuana was a central talking point at last night’s City Council meeting, with two amendments being offered by council members to refine the locations of facilities in Springfield.

Council members held a first reading on a proposed medical marijuana zoning ordinance at its April 8 meeting. The ordinance was slated for a vote last night, but a reintroduced amendment pushed back the timeline.

Councilman Craig Hosmer again made a motion to amend the medical marijuana ordinance, seeking a change in the definition of child care center and distance requirements. Hosmer’s definition of day care centers would include all day care centers regardless of licensing from the city or state and would establish a 1,000-foot separation requirement — rather than the proposed 200 feet — from medical marijuana dispensaries and post-extraction facilities, such as bakeries, confectionaries or producers of ointments and other marijuana-infused products.

While a similar amendment failed 4-4 at the April 8 meeting, Hosmer yesterday said he was reintroducing it because Councilwoman Jan Fisk was absent from the previous meeting and newly elected Councilman Abe McGull was not yet in place earlier in the month.

“I’m not against medical marijuana at all, but I think the people in the state of Missouri, when they voted for Amendment 2, the amendment was sold as a 1,000-foot separation from schools and day care facilities,” he said while introducing his amendment.

Hosmer’s motion was followed by a motion from Fisk.

Fisk moved to amend Hosmer’s amendment to remove the latter councilman’s definition of day care centers, instead keeping the definition of a day care center as licensed by the city or state. Her amendment left the 1,000-foot separation requirement proposed by Hosmer.

Fisk’s motion to amend Hosmer’s motion failed by 5-4, with council members Fisk, Andrew Lear, McGull and Matthew Simpson voting in favor.

Hosmer’s previously failed amendment last night passed 6-3, with Lear, Fisk and Simpson in opposition.

Before the vote on both amendments, Desmond Morris — who is planning to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Springfield — addressed council. He stressed the security aspect of dispensaries.

“This is not going to be a place where you can walk off the street and purchase medical marijuana,” he said.

Through his research, Morris said he hasn’t found any evidence of influence on children from dispensaries due to the requirements of a driver’s license and medical card to enter such a facility.

John Price, an attorney at Carnahan, Evans, Cantwell & Brown PC, represents clients in Springfield who are attempting to apply for dispensary licenses.

He said his clients have identified a location and are in talks with a landlord, but the property is less than 1,000 feet from a church that’s considering adding a day care, putting the deal on uncertain ground.

“It throws uncertainty and unpredictability into some very serious business decisions,” Price said.

Council is scheduled to vote on the amended bill May 6, with a public hearing for the amendment also scheduled.

Council also tabled a second medical marijuana bill until May 6 regarding the adoption of a $108 fee for a medical marijuana zoning certificate. The fee would have a $92 base rate with a 17% technology fee. A current non-medical marijuana facility zoning certificate costs $44, according to city documents.


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