The issue of regulating medical marijuana is still perplexing the Des Peres Board of Aldermen, which tabled the bill for a second time.
The bill would allow limited production, distribution, sale and purchase of medical marijuana for qualifying health conditions, and allow the growing and dispensing of medical marijuana only in the commercial district of the city.
A dispensary would need a conditional use permit and be 300 feet from any park, school, daycare center, church, or any other dispensary.
“I am a nurse and the term ‘medical marijuana’ is used loosely,” said Des Peres resident Kathryn Harrington. “The FDA still sees medical marijuana as a Class 1 drug with a propensity for abuse.”
John Harrington asked the board why they could not increase the buffer from 300 feet to 500 or 1,000 feet.
“Do we want to make ourselves more conducive?” he asked. “I would want the buffer as large as possible.”
Assistant City Administrator Scott Schaefer said that a 1,000-foot setback would be impractical for any facility in Des Peres.
“We dropped it to 500 feet and that canceled out most of our shopping centers, so we dropped it to 300 feet which would keep it from any church, school or park,” he said. “The state doesn’t have a mandated setback.”
“There has been some discussion that dispensing medical marijuana is no different than a pharmacy,” said City Administrator Doug Harms. “We don’t restrict how close pharmacies are to each other. How is one that dispenses medical marijuana different from one who dispenses opioids?”
“We can be restrictive enough that there are limited places where it can go,” said Board Member Sean Concagh.
The board tabled the bill until the Aug. 12 meeting at which time a vote may be taken.