Proposed rules for medical marijuana facilities will be the subject of two public hearings in Wright City on May 20 and 23.

The city is finalizing rules for medical marijuana businesses following a statewide vote last year legalizing the drug for medical uses. Members of the public will be allowed to comment on the rules at a city planning and zoning meeting Monday, May 20, and a board of aldermen meeting Thursday, May 23.

“The main component of the (city’s) medical marijuana bill is making sure that we’re in compliance with the state regulations. That’s the guide that we’re using,” explained Mayor Dan Rowden.

Rowden said the city does not plan to reduce its 1,000-foot buffer preventing medical marijuana businesses from opening near schools, day cares and churches. That buffer is set by state law, but local governments are allowed to reduce or eliminate the setback if they choose.

Wright City intends to maintain that buffer for the protection of local children and the community as a whole, Rowden said.

The ordinance being considered by the city would restrict the places where businesses could dispense, grow, manufacture or test medical marijuana products. Before opening, all businesses would have to receive a conditional use permit from the board of aldermen.

A conditional use permit allows the board to create additional restrictions specific to each business, depending on the needs of the surrounding area. However, the state constitutional amendment approved by voters last year prohibits cities from creating restrictions that are “unduly burdensome.”

Dispensary rules

Medical marijuana dispensaries would be limited to areas that are zoned for general businesses, shopping centers and highway commerce. Notably, a dispensary would not be allowed in Wright City’s downtown district.

Any dispensary would have to be licensed by the state and would be restricted by the following rules:

• No outdoor operation or storage.

• No on-site usage of marijuana products

• Hours of operation limited to 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday. No sales permitted on Sundays. Nonemployees not allowed in the building after hours.

• Must have an odor control system as necessary to prevent odor from becoming a nuisance.

• Must meet security standards established by state regulation.

Industrial facility rules

Cultivation, product manufacturing, testing and transportation facilities for medical marijuana would all be restricted to areas that are zoned for heavy industry under the proposed rules.

All facilities would require an appropriate state license and be limited by the following restrictions:

• Cultivation allowed indoors only.

• No outdoor operation or storage.

• Odor control systems must meet minimum state standards and prevent nuisance for surrounding properties.

• No on-site marijuana usage except as authorized by state regulations at testing facilities.

• Facilities must be closed to the public from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. and meet the security standards established by state regulators.

• Testing facilities must maintain state accreditation.

Home growing restrictions

The ordinance being considered by Wright City officials also reiterates Missouri state rules for qualified medical marijuana patients seeking to grow their own plants at home.

Patients who want to grow their own marijuana must have authorization from the state and ensure the plants are locked and secured in such a way that only patients and caregivers have access.

Additional rules for home growers include:

• Authorization to grow marijuana must be prominently displayed with the plants.

• Plants must be clearly labeled with the patient’s name.

• Odor control must comply with state regulations.

• No product may be consumed except by approved patients.

• The number of plants is restricted to the number allowed by state law (12 per patient, 36 maximum in a single building).

• Cultivation for a patient must cease immediately if that patient’s state authorization expires or is revoked.

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