Ste. Genevieve Aldermen Pass Medical Marijuana Zoning Law After Some Discussion

More discussion arose over amendments to city zoning ordinances — relating both to medical marijuana businesses and vehicle parking on residential lots — during last Thursday’s city of Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen meeting.

When a bill amending zoning ordinances and terminology related to medical marijuana received its second reading, debate was quick to start.

The ordinance amended zoning regulations by defining terms such as child day-care center, marijuana, marijuana-infused products, medical marijuana facility, medical marijuana cultivation facility, medical marijuana-infused products manufacturing facility; and by limiting various marijuana-related facilities from being less than 1,000 feet from day cares, schools and churches, and 200 feet from residential areas.

The ordinance had also sparked debate during its first reading at the April 25 meeting.

After a motion was made and seconded to pass the bill, Ward 4 Alderman Bryant Wolfin asked if anyone had “changed their mind, as far as possibly being willing to consider the medical marijuana dispensaries different than the cultivation.”

“I feel like we should adopt this now, because this is so new and it’s kind of been all over the place,” Ward 1 Alderwoman Susie Johnson said, “especially as far as the state is concerned, that we readdress it once some of these businesses have been established and we see that they are going well and are following the regulations and then maybe we can look at bringing in … not being as restrictive.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission had opted to recommend the maximum-allowed 1,000-foot distances rather than shorter distances, such as 750 feet.

“My concern is not necessarily being behind everyone else,” Wolfin said, “but in such a small city, obviously, we’re very limited of where dispensaries can go. I know we haven’t seen any interest in that direction, but I just wanted to leave the biggest possibility of someone … maybe they get shut down in Perryville, that maybe they would have an option here.”

Most city officials who have addressed the issue so far have seemed to approach the advent of marijuana-based businesses as a necessary evil that cannot legally be zoned out of existence but need to face the maximum possible restraint.

Wolfin, however, supports the coming of these facilities as economic development.

“The more areas available for a dispensary, the better shot that we could potentially have some sort of increase in industry in this matter,” he said.

He added that while it may not be likely that many dispensary applications will be filed here, he would like the landscape to be favorable to them.

See complete story in the May 15 edition of the Herald.

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