Proposed medical marijuana dispensary needs ordinance revision

An effort is underway to seek state authorization to locate a medical marijuana dispensary in the Shoppes on Stardust in Hannibal.
By Danny Henley, Courier-Post Reporter
Posted: Jun. 27, 2019 12:01 am

Less than two months after the Hannibal City Council approved an ordinance regulating where medical marijuana facilities can be located in the community, it will hear a request to revise the guidelines at its Tuesday, July 2, meeting.

Mary Radel and Chris Warwick of Evergreen Wellness of Quincy, Ill. are in the process of preparing a state application that, if approved, would permit them to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Hannibal, they said during last week's meeting of the Hannibal Planning and Zoning Commission.

The site they have secured for the facility is located at 3557 Stardust Dr., in a mini-mall located between the Aldi grocery store and Lowe's.

"In working on our application, it was brought to our attention there may be a conflict between the Amendment 2 and state's regulations, and the ordinance that the city has in place for cannabis," Warwick said.

A 400-foot setback contained in the city ordinance is a potential sticking point for the dispensary's establishment. The ordinance requires the distance be measured from the medical marijuana facility's property line and the property line of any elementary or secondary school, child day care center or church.

Based on that regulation the proposed site of the dispensary, which will be located on 11 acres of land, would put it less than 400 feet from the Mississippi Valley School. The state facility serves approximately 25 severely disabled youth, according to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Radel said the Stardust site would meet local guidelines if the measurement was taken from the building's entrance door, rather than the property line.

"They are in a complex, and it would be unfair to use the complex's property line for that (measurement)," said Mayor Pro Tem Mike Dobson, who also is a planning and zoning commission member.

The ordinance's setback guideline has not deterred Radel and Warwick from pursuing the state's authorization to establish a dispensary in Hannibal.

"We are going to proceed with our application since we are totally in compliance with state regulations," Radel said. "When it comes time to actually get the business license from the city of Hannibal, we want to make sure that we are not going to have any problems."

Dobson assured the women that he supports their endeavor "100 percent."

In addition to a revision of the ordinance, Radel requested a letter of support from the city that could be submitted with the state application.

Dobson, who said he would be willing to sign such a letter, encouraged Radel and Warwick to appear before the city council at its July 2 meeting and explain their situation.

"I think everybody will be fine," Dobson said regarding the rest of the council.

City Attorney James Lemon recommended when the council was deliberating distance requirements that the city measure from property line to property line to "avoid confusion,” said Donald Bastain, chairman of the planning and zoning commission.

"I get very concerned that we are going to have something that is unenforceable or so subject to interpretation that it almost certainly will lead to a (legal) fight. I would rather you all took language that is clearly defined. A property line is clearly defined," Lemon said during the council's April 16 meeting.

State guidelines permit measuring from the closest door on the dispensary to the property line of the school, day care or church, Radel said.

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