Columbia city employees snub committee vote on medical marijuana regulation

Columbia city employees snub committee vote on medical marijuana regulation

By Brandon Dunn

Thursday evening Columbia’s Planning and Zoning Commission met to vote on regulation recommendations to be made to the City Council ahead of the May 20 meeting.

But Columbia Development Services Manager Patrick Zenner told commissioners that despite any recommendations or action, city staff members would present City Council members with the same draft ordinance being presented to them on Thursday night. As a result, during the nearly 3.5 hour meeting Commissioner Michael MacMann abstained from all but one vote, saying afterward he abstained as a form of protesting city staff ignoring the commission’s role.

Lance Leanau, Communications Director for Mid-Mo NORML and Missouri Cannabis Industry Association told Greenway afterward, “The voters of Missouri overwhelmingly gave their approval to the regulation of cannabis for medical use. Yet, the City of Columbia seems to want to hide medical cannabis facilities from public view. This is contrary to the will of the electorate.”

Zenner said city employees will move forward with their ordinance draft recommendation and will advise the City Council of the commission’s suggestions and of public comment taken Thursday night.


City staff will send forward an ordinance with the original 1000 ft buffer contained in the amendment thereby excluding dispensaries from all areas downtown, but the same ordinance also ;limits dispensaries located downtown to second-story spaces. The city’s draft also restricts the number of cultivation centers and manufacturing facilities to two, and the number of dispensaries to six.

Under the city’s proposal dispensaries would be restricted to zoning in mixed-use corridor spaces, mixed use downtown, and industrial spaces. While manufacturing facilities would be restricted to business and industrial park spaces and industrial areas, cultivation facilities would be restricted to agricultural and industrial areas, and testing facilities would be allowed in mixed use commercial spaces, mixed use business parks, and in industrial areas.

For its part the commission voted in favor of decreasing the 1000 ft buffer zone down to only 250 ft for dispensaries, and 500 ft for cultivation, infused product manufacturing, and testing facilities. The commission also voted to remove the second story requirement for dispensaries and to recommend the addition of cultivation centers in mixed-use business parks.