Columbia City Council approves shorter buffer for medical marijuana facilities
COLUMBIA - Columbia City Council voted to approve a 500-foot buffer for medical marijuana facilities Monday night.
The buffer originally was proposed as 1000-feet between facilities and religious institutions, schools and daycares. A Planning and Zoning Commission was formed to review the proposed regulations. The commission voted 5-3-1 to shorten it back on May 20.
Multiple citizens showed up voicing their opposition against the 1000-foot buffer and second-story limit.
One citizen, Gail Plemmons, said the limits would make it hard for her and people with disabilities to get medical marijuana downtown.
"I would encourage you to not make it difficult for me to obtain legal medicine," Plemmons said.
Dan Viets, the communications director for Mid-Missouri NORML chapter, said NORML supports the buffer proposed by the Planning and Zoning commission.
“I have called the city council members and asked them to support the planning and zoning commission’s plans,” Viets said. “[NORML] thinks that is totally reasonable.”
Viets pointed out what he said are “bad ideas” regarding the 1000-foot buffer and other regulations proposed by Patrick Zenner, Columbia’s Development Services Manager.
“You couldn't be located on the first floor [of a building]. That didn’t make any sense.” Viets said.
City council also voted to amend striking the second-story limit. It was originally proposed with security in mind. Many argued against it saying it was unreasonable for those with disabilities.
"I think we can provide adequate security," councilman Karl Skala said.
The Monday night meeting also covered definitions of different medical marijuana facilities, use-specific standards and zoning districts. The different facility definitions voted on were dispensary, cultivation, testing and manufacturing.
The state's Department of Health and Human Services is expected to release applications Tuesday.