CLAYTON — After months of discussion, the St. Louis County Council on Tuesday approved 1,000-foot buffer zones between marijuana dispensaries and schools, day care centers and churches.
Tuesday’s council vote was 5-2, with Democrats Lisa Clancy and Kelli Dunaway voting against it. The measure now heads to County Executive Sam Page; his spokesman, Doug Moore, said Page intends to sign it.
Clancy, D-5th District, said: “I do support a buffer zone, however I think 1,000 feet is too restrictive, both from an economic development perspective but more importantly from the perspective of people who need to use this product as medicine.”
The bill affects only the county’s unincorporated areas, as municipalities can set their own buffer zones.
The planning commission voted in July to recommend a 300-foot buffer be required, same as a retail pharmacy. It later expanded that to 500 feet, but the council sent the measure back again. The council’s three-member public improvements committee had favored a larger buffer because it would be likely to remain the same if recreational marijuana were to be legalized in Missouri.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services accepted marijuana facilities from Aug. 3 through Aug. 19 and applicants had to show their facilities would meet local zoning codes. Because the council did not decide on the buffer zone until Tuesday, it is likely that any applicants in unincorporated St. Louis County observed the state recommended 1,000-foot buffer zone.
A breakdown of applications by location and facility type were made publicly available on Tuesday, according to the state agency overseeing the process.
Missouri is required by law to approve at least two testing facilities (although the state said it would approve up to 10), 60 commercial growers, 86 facilities that make marijuana-infused products and 192 dispensaries — 24 dispensaries for each of Missouri’s eight congressional districts. A company that oversaw marijuana business licenses there will score applicants for Missouri’s medical marijuana industry.