City Planner Cary Patterson, along with the Osage Beach Board of Aldermen and Mayor John Olivarri face a daunting task. The group met Tuesday evening at City Hall in a special planning and zoning meeting to discuss properly locating proposed medical marijuana related businesses that could open within the city limits.

City Planner Cary Patterson, along with the Osage Beach Board of Aldermen and Mayor John Olivarri face a daunting task. The group met Tuesday evening at City Hall in a special planning and zoning meeting to discuss properly locating proposed medical marijuana related businesses that could open within the city limits.  The meeting focused on proposing where the best fit for each kind of cannabis business would be in approximation to residential and business districts.  

The industry offers four different types of businesses, Dispensaries, cultivation farms, infused product manufacturing facilities, and cannabis testing labs.  Dispensaries will sell medicinal cannabis, and infused products.  Cultivation Farms will grow cannabis and distribute to dispensaries, locally, as well as state wide if they so choose.  A cultivation facility, according to Amendment 2, has a maximum size limit of 32,000 square feet.  Infused product manufacturing facilities will produce items that make cannabis ingestible other than smoking such.  Examples include edibles, vapable oils, and topical products. Marijuana testing facilities conduct potency and contaminant research, and will be few in operation licensed statewide.  At this time, only two individuals have applied for operation in Osage Beach, Greenside Apothecary to be located on Osage Beach Parkway in the former Osage Beach Cigar Store, and Hemp Hemp Hooray CBD Store located in Stonecrest Mall.  Hemp Hemp Hooray will open a seperate dispensary from their current location due to Amendment 2 zoning limitations at their current location.  Greenside Apothecary has applied for a cultivation license as well.  

City Planner Patterson recommended dispensaries be located within the 1000 foot maximum distance to the main business corridor, Osage Beach Parkway, Highway 54, and Highway 42.  He does say that each case can be revisited on if these distance requirements don’t work for the business and the surrounding businesses.  The board decided that depending on the applicant and location, a 200 foot distance could be considered on a case by case basis. Kirksville and Springfield have reduced their limit to none.  Comparing to liquor stores and bars, who’s distance is at 200 feet from any church, school, or daycare, Patterson states “this 200 foot distance still keeps a dispensary from locating next door to a church, school, or daycare.”  Ward 1 Alderman Kevin Rucker voiced opposition to the 200 foot rule applied to liquor establishments.  

He opposes “I think we should keep it at 1000 feet., these are not the same kind of businesses.”  Ward 3 Alderman Richard Ross countered that medical marijuana patients may need to be located closer to a dispensary and the distance regulation can’t be compared to a bar or liquor store.  Patterson agreed and stated “you can use liquor at a bar, at a cannabis dispensary, you can’t even get in the door without a medical marijuana card, and then what you purchase must be used at home, not there.  Don’t forget the high amount of security that Amendment 2 is requiring these businesses to install and operate with.”  Mayor Olivarri took it to a board vote with the measure passing with a majority decision, and two aldermen in opposition.  The Mayor adds,”remember folks, this can be revisited in relation to who is approved to operate and what location.  We may not even get one(dispensary), it is up to the state health department, and they have hired an outside company to help audit where any of the 24 dispensaries will be approved to operate in our congressional district, which is a very large area.  Higher population areas will be considered in that decision, so we may not even get one.  We just don’t want medical cannabis patients to have to drive 150-200 miles to purchase what they need. I think it is important that we are planning, and being proactive should one be licensed to operate here.”  Congressional District 3 spans from Camden County to St. Louis.

There are 3 types of business zones considered in properly locating cannabis related businesses.  C1-A zoning is commercial business zoning for most retail businesses.  Cary Patterson shares that this is where the dispensaries should locate.  I-1 and I-2 are also available commercial zones, but are usually reserved for industrial operations.  This is where Patterson suggested that infusion manufacturing and testing facilities could be placed.  There are odors associated with production of these products, as well as chemical operations that would require them to be placed in these areas.  Alderman Richard Ross questioned whether I-1 or I-2 zoning is necessary if the business can be placed in C-1 zones.  Alderman Rucker suggests that they still be located 1000 feet from any residential area.  Mayor Olivarri assured the board that the city will suggest the best zoning for the businesses.  Ward 2 Alderman Phyllis Marose inquired as to the ability of the city to limit the number of cannabis related businesses that could locate in Osage Beach.  Olivarri stated “it’s not up to us, that comes from the state health department which I have been speaking with their director, getting guidance on these issues.”  Several aldermen voiced the desire to see cannabis related businesses  locate west of the Grand Glaize Bridge.  Other specifications relating to dispensaries discussed were that the city won’t allow any to operate on lake front properties.  The consensus of the board was to keep these businesses located within 1000 feet of the Osage Beach Parkway, or the other two commercial corridors of Highway 54 and Highway 42.  

Cary Patterson next addressed proper zoning of cultivation facilities.  He identified zones I-2 and A-1(agriculture) as the appropriate location for grow farms.  I-2 zoning would be fitting placement for an operation that produces industrial noxious fumes.  Ward 1 Alderman Greg Massey proposed infused product manufacturing and testing facilities to be agriculturally zoned as well.  Patterson countered that due to the fumes produced from these operations they need to be industrially zoned.  He shares that both zones will have a 1000 foot distance barrier to residential areas.  A majority of these zones sit on the outer parts of the city away from commercial zones, especially agriculture zones.  Patterson reports that noxious fumes will be able to be metered, and any complaints can be better addressed locating in these zones, but that the distance regulation should be sufficient.  Alderman Rucker related problems controlling odors due to a former waste management company that he operated.  He voiced “These odors are difficult to regulate, control and meter due to weather conditions and wind variances.” 

The board accepted Patterson’s proposal to keep signage and landscaping regulations the same as any other businesses.  Security regulations are not an issue due to Amendment 2 standards being much higher than any city code.  The board agreed that placement shouldn’t be an issue due to the state licensing limits on Congressional District 3.  The mayor states “we will not be dealing with one on every corner.”  The board also felt that visibility isn’t an issue as most existing dispensaries in other states display counters are not visible in the storefront,  That area is usually reserved as reception and registry areas.  

Alderman Rucker spoke to a Missouri Medicinal Marijuana group statement recently published in their newsletter of boosting zoning deadlines of cities to accommodate regulations being in place by the August 3rd application deadline.  Alderman Ross proposed all regulations to be decided on by July 18th, 2019.  MML and MME groups request May 31st as the target date for cities to have regulations in place.  Mayor Olivarri suggested that all decisions could possibly be moved up to mid June, but 30 day notification requirements could delay regulations to July, depending on 1st and 2nd readings of ordinances.  Olivarri states “we need to have enough time for the public to have input at these meetings.”

Pastor Tim Anna of Osage Beach First Assembly of God spoke in opposition to medical marijuana businesses in general, beginning with his own difficulties with the current zoning regulations. . He shared that the distance between his church and the proposed Greenside Apothecary location is a problem for him as he does not want worshipers to have to view this type of business coming and going from services.  That distance is 766 feet. Additionally, he informed the board that the Osage Beach City Park entrance is located adjacent to the proposed Greenside Apothecary site.  He states “there are many families with children that come and go through that entrance daily, and it is in close proximity to Greenside’s location.  The former Osage Beach Elementary school building that sits between the church and the cannabis business, the Reverend Anna shares, continues to host dance recitals that children attend and participate in.  

Anna relates an experience of his own with cannabis.  The pastor visited Manitou Springs, Colorado on a motorcycle trip since medical and recreational cannabis became law in the state.  He shares “riding down the middle of town, you can smell that stuff everywhere. There is a reason it is nicknamed “skunkweed”; please consider the odor these businesses are going to generate.  And I fully feel that medical marijuana in Missouri will be a gateway to recreational marijuana, as it has been in other states, that door has been opened.”

The next Board of Aldermen and Planning and Zoning Commission meeting is a staff work group scheduled for Friday, April 19th at 2pm at City Hall.  Regular Board of Aldermen meeting will be held Thursday, May 2nd at 6pm at City Hall.  Each resident has the ability in the meeting to speak to issues and voice concerns for up to 3 minutes in the agenda.  Board of Aldermen  agendas and reports can be found online at: www.osagebeach.org.