Crestwood looks to host medical marijuana sites

By Erin Achenbach
Staff Reporter
eachenbach@callnewspapers.com 

Medical marijuana may soon be setting up shop in Crestwood after Missouri voters legalized it in the November 2018 election.

Amendment 2 was passed by nearly 66 percent of Missouri voters and gives the Department of Health and Senior Services authority on how to regulate operations and growing facilities, as well as provide guidance to local officials.

At the Dec. 18 Crestwood Economic Development Commission meeting and the Jan. 2 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, City Planner Adam Jones gave presentations on medical marijuana’s history and the impact it could have on Crestwood’s economy if a distributor came to the city. 

Because medical marijuana is under the jurisdiction of the state agency, local governments can’t openly prohibit dispensaries or cultivation facilities, nor can they enact “ordinances or regulations that make their operation unduly burdensome.”

Although cities cannot enact ordinances or regulations preventing dispensaries or cultivation facilities, municipalities still have the jurisdiction to issue conditional-use permits or restrict where facilities can be in proximity to schools, churches or day-care centers, Jones said.

In terms of revenue per square foot, cannabis stores usually fare well, with storefronts averaging $974, slightly higher than a Whole Foods and much more than the typical pharmacy, said Jones, who gathered the statistics from the Marijuana Business Factbook.

Under the amendment approved by voters, Amendment 2, marijuana purchases will be taxed at 4 percent statewide, with the revenue funding state veterans’ services. Currently the law is not clear regarding additional local taxation on top of the 4 percent, so it is possible that Crestwood may receive no additional sales-tax revenue. However, if the city is able to add its usual 2.5 percent assessment, Crestwood could collect between $75,000 to $130,000 annually in net aggregate taxes and fees.

Amendment 2 went into effect Dec. 3, and applicants were able to prefile an application fee with the Department of Health and Senior Services on Jan. 5. In August, the department will begin accepting applications for dispensaries and cultivation facilities, and licenses will be issued starting Dec. 31, 2019.

With the passing of Amendment 2, Missouri becomes one of 33 states where marijuana is legal for medicinal use. Qualifying conditions include those suffering from cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, intractable migraines, chronic medical conditions, psychiatric disorders and other terminal illnesses. Because it is still illegal at the federal level, doctors cannot write prescriptions for it but only notes recommending that their patient be able to use medicinal marijuana.

Crestwood would have to make amendments to its current municipal code to add a new division related to medical marijuana.

At the Jan. 2 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Jones presented a draft municipal ordinance outlining possible zoning and regulations for medical marijuana distribution centers and grow facilities for if and when the time comes that growers and distribution want to set up in Crestwood, putting the city “ahead of the game,” he said.

Some of the recommendations Jones made included restricting operations to only C-1, PD-C, M-1 and PD-M zoning districts, requiring them to apply for conditional-use permits, not allowing operations within 1,000 feet of a school, church or day care and having applicants apply for a special $1,500 license that must be renewed annually.