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Kansas City leaders to consider zoning regulations for medical marijuana facilities

Posted at 6:18 PM, Jul 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-10 21:40:40-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — As Missouri prepares to deal with medical marijuana facilities, different cities are planning where those facilities can be located.

On Thursday morning, the Kansas City Council’s transportation and infrastructure committee will have a meeting to discuss zoning regulations.

According to state law, municipalities can set regulations to keep medical marijuana facilities up to 1,000 feet away from schools, churches and daycares.

Kansas City leaders are considering an ordinance that would make the minimum distance 750 feet, but some groups, including the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Norml) KC, want that number to be 300 feet or less.

"We want patients to be able to have access to their medicine so they don't have to have any unnecessary burden," Norml KC Executive Director Jamie Kacz said.

Kacz said if city leaders don’t approve the shorter distance, certain neighborhoods would be ignored when the facilities open.

"That's going to pretty much cut out the east side of the city, and the east side of the city is the part of the city that has been the most negatively affected by the war on drugs," Kacz said.

Elsewhere in the Kansas City metro, other cities have already set their own zoning regulations for the facilities.

Independence and Blue Springs each kept the regulation at 1,000 feet. In North Kansas City, officials lowered the distance to 300 feet.

Some daycares in Kansas City, Missouri, such as the the Tomlin Academy Early Childhood Center, want to see the dispensaries further away from their buildings.

"I don't feel as if they should be around the schools, daycare, churches. I do feel like there should be a boundary set," said Takia Steele, a teacher at Tomlin Academy.

Steele said if a dispensary were to open near the daycare, it could negatively affect their attendance.

"If it is brought about that a dispensary will be put in our vicinity, then there will be plenty of complaints from parents," Steele said. "They should be held accountable just as well as liquor stores are."

As the law currently stands, liquor stores must be 300 feet away from schools, churches and daycares.

In response to parents or others who may have fears about the facilities, Kacz with Norml KC said the dispensaries will be tightly regulated.

"Children are not allowed into a dispensary,” Kacz said. “Dispensaries are not allowed to have marketing or cannabis leaves or anything like that.”

At Thursday’s meeting, the City Council committee will also discuss the hours of operation for these facilities.