KEARNEY — With no public comment and little aldermanic discussion Monday, May 20, Kearney aldermen approved the city’s zoning ordinance for allowances of medical marijuana facilities. The ordinance aligns with what the state drafted since voters passed a state constitutional amendment allowing for medical marijuana use in 2018.
The planning and zoning commission, Community Development Director Dave Pavlich said, heard no public opposition on the matter and voted to recommend passage of the ordinance to aldermen.
“We didn’t change anything the state had. We are directly in line with the state,” he said.
Under the city ordinance, industrial districts may include medical marijuana cultivation facilities, dispensaries, facilities used for manufacturing of medical marijuana-infused products and testing facilities.
Dispensaries are also allowed in general commercial districts.
All facilities under the ordinance must be at least 1,000 feet from any elementary or secondary school, day care or church, which aligns with the state’s draft language.
Cultivation facilities, under the ordinance, maybe indoor or outdoor facilities but outdoor facilities must be secured by an 8-foot, solid block wall or fence topped with razor wire, plus an additional fence between 10 to 20 feet outside the original fence. Surveillance and lighting around the facility’s perimeter is also required.
City Administrator Jim Eldridge said the city’s attorney reviewed the ordinance language and was comfortable with passage.
Alderman Dan Holt said he also opposes medical marijuana.
“I’ve seen in other states where it becomes a gateway. It starts out as medical and then, all of a sudden, they just want to legalize it for everything. Then you have trouble like you have in parts of Colorado and parts of California,” he said. “I am against this, however, the voters of Missouri did vote for it.”
Mayor Randy Pogue said voters, especially those in Clay County, overwhelming supported passage of marijuana for medical uses.
“There was very high approval in our county,” he said.
They unanimously approved the ordinance 4-0.
After the meeting, Alderman Gerri Spencer told the Courier-Tribune she is not opposed to medical marijuana as she knows people with medical conditions it may benefit, but that she signed a city resolution in 2017 as board president that stated the city was against marijuana for recreational and medical purposes because it's what the majority of the Board of Aldermen wanted. She said she thought the resolution should have included a provision for medical uses of marijuana.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will begin accepting applications for cultivation, manufacturing and dispensing facilities Aug. 3.
“We anticipate medical marijuana may be available for purchase as early as January 2020,” states a health and senior services release.