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COLUMBIA - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Tuesday released a sample of the application for medical marijuana dispensaries.

The application criteria requires a great deal of paperwork, including but not limited to:

  • Certificate of good standing from the Missouri secretary of state
  • Completed ownership structure form
  • Written description or visual representation of ownership structure
  • Proof of Missouri residency
  • Map of the area surrounding the proposed address
  • Blueprints of the proposed facility

The health department will be accepting facility applications any time on or after August 3.

The application form can be found on the department's website. 

The head of marijuana regulation for the department said he believes the push into the medical marijuana business is a cultural shift.

"It's something that we've seen occur in our nation now for the past 20 years, but more specifically the last five," Lyndall Fraker said.

A recently passed law requires at least 24 dispensaries be located within each congressional district. 

Columbia is located within District 4, which includes Sedalia, Warrensburg, Columbia, Lebanon and Marshfield. 

"Spread 24 dispensaries out in that large area and that should tell you, give you the idea that Columbia might end up with 2 or 3 or 4," Fraker said.

The question is where they're going to be located.

"That's just going to be wherever the applicants have the facilities and applications for prospective locations."

The Columbia City Council passed regulations for these dispensaries at its meeting Monday night. 

The council has approved a 500-buffer between medical marijuana dispensaries and churches, daycare centers or schools. Other options had been 250 feet or 1,000 feet.

But not everyone in the community is looking forward to the possibilities of the medical marijuana dispensaries.

Patrick Garcia, pastor of Columbia's First Church of the Nazarene said his main concern is the children in the church and around the area. 

"I would feel a lot better at the 1,000 feet buffer," he said. "I think probably a lot of parents might feel the same way when it comes to where their children are, whether it be schools or daycare and in church settings."

Garcia said his church is surrounded by a middle school, an elementary school, and a day care.

The health department said it has created new rules and regulations restricting certain sign designs for dispensaries, along with updated security with local law enforcement. 

Fraker said he believes the added security should help, but the community is still worried about the children's safety.

He said he's not particularly worried about children getting any more access that they can already get illegally.