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O’Fallon prepares for medical marijuana

At the O’Fallon City Council meeting held on March 14, Planning & Development Director David Woods presented Bill #7077 for its first reading by the council. The bill provided a set of proposed guidelines and restrictions pertaining to medical marijuana facilities in the city limits, while also factoring in items like including cultivation, infused product manufacturing and product testing.  The 10-page bill was sponsored by councilmembers Dave Hinman [Ward 1] and Jeff Kuehn from [Ward 4] and was developed over the course of several months by a council sub-committee. O’Fallon’s Planning & Zoning Commission [P&Z] previously voted favorably to recommended approval of the bill on March 7.

During the presentation, Woods provided a color-coded map to indicate the locations of local schools, day-care centers and churches in the city’s limits. The map was based on minimum state and city requirements for the separation of medical marijuana facilities from protected locations. The proposed ordinance also places a maximum limit of 10 medical marijuana dispensaries in O’Fallon.

[City of O’Fallon graphic]

The bill’s appearance before the council comes following the passage of New Approach Missouri’s Amendment 2, which was approved by Missouri voters in November 2018. The amendment is intended to protect patients, primary caregivers and physicians from civil and criminal penalties and to allow for limited production, distribution, sale and purchase of marijuana for medical usages. State-licensed physicians are permitted to recommend medical marijuana to patients with qualifying illnesses and medical conditions. However, it does not allow for general public use of marijuana or driving under the influence of marijuana. Amendment 2 also has guidelines that govern the production and sale of medical marijuana.

The proposed bill establishes specific medical marijuana restrictions within O’Fallon, including the restriction that no medical marijuana facility should be located within 750 feet of any school, child day-care center or church. The bill also states that no facility shall be within 1,500 feet of another related facility except for state or federally-licensed pharmacies where medical marijuana sales are less than 5 percent of the pharmacy’s sales. The bill also states that no medical marijuana-related content should be visible through windows or doors from the building’s outside perimeter.

Individuals under the age of 18 would not be allowed inside the facilities. In addition, the sale or consumption of alcohol would not be allowed within any medical marijuana facility. Dispensaries would also not be allowed to dispense more than 4 ounces of medical marijuana per patient in a 30-day period except as otherwise allowed by law. No consumption, inhalation or other use of medical marijuana products on or within the premises of a facility would be allowed. Also under the bill, medical marijuana facilities would also not be permissible as a home occupation.

The bill also establishes specific medical marijuana facility requirements pertaining to security, surveillance, inventory control. Other mentioned assets include the presence of a locking safe, an alarm system, odor control measures, signage, off-street automobile parking, emergency contact information, floor plans, a detailed operations plan, an application-review process and an O’Fallon business license.

A second reading of the proposed bill, with the possibility of a full council vote, is tentatively scheduled for the next city council meeting on March 28.

On June 1, 2019, the state will make available applications for licensing and certification of medical marijuana facilities and for qualifying patient and caregiver identification cards. By Aug. 2019, Missouri will begin accepting and processing those applications.

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