Springfield City Council reverses position on decreased buffer zone
By Brandon Dunn
Monday, the Springfield City Council reversed its position, repealing the motion for a smaller buffer zone approved previously. Council members voted to keep medical marijuana dispensaries at least 1,000 feet from schools and day care facilities.
Critics of the change argued that the 1000 foot buffer zone creates added difficulty in finding locations for their businesses, further contending that the added distance is unnecessary as security measures in place at dispensaries will prevent children from accidentally or illegally entering facilities or making purchases. Springfield had previously approved language that would reduce the buffer zone to 200 feet.
This was Councilman Craig Hosmer’s second attempt at recreating the original 1000 foot restrictions outlined in the voter-approved constitutional amendment last November. But Hosmer’s amendment also removes a requirement in Amendment 2 language that specifies only licensed “day care” facilities.
Hosmer contends the language change allows day care facilities in churches or some nonprofits, which are license-exempt, to be protected under the larger buffer area. Under the proposal, churches that aren’t also day care centers are subject to a 200-foot buffer
At the April 8 meeting, the council rejected the same amendment with a 4-4 vote in favor of keeping the buffer at 200 feet.
The council will hear public comment on the new amendment at the next meeting May 6. If there are no new amendments to the proposal, council members will take a final vote.