Warren County

Warren County refuses to change where it will allow marijuana to be grown

By Jason Koch, Editor
Posted 2/23/24

The Warren County MO planning and zoning commission denied a change that would allow medical marijuana to be grown in areas zoned for agricultural use.

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Warren County

Warren County refuses to change where it will allow marijuana to be grown


The Warren County Planning and Zoning committee denied a request to allow the growing of medical marijuana in areas zoned agricultural during its Feb. 15 meeting.

The commission unanimously approved the denial after multiple Warren County residents spoke in opposition to the change.

The issue first came to light late last year when Nicole L. Vandiver approached the county with a desire to put a grow house on her property, which is currently zoned agricultural, Bill Roemer, the county’s planning and zoning administrator, said.

Roemer said he spoke with Vandiver after the Feb. 15 meeting and said that she had accepted the commission’s decision. The Record will be following up with Vandiver in the near future.

Vandiver’s plans included only a small number of plants. Those who spoke in opposition to the change appeared mostly against allowing big marijuana cultivation plants to take advantage of the rule.

“These facilities, despite having air handling systems, can emit strong odors that can cause health issues to nearby residents,” resident Tim Starks told the commission during the public hearing. “I personally witnessed it through migraines and asthma. I know I’m probably not the only one.”

Another issue was the idea that companies with no ties to Missouri would come in and use county resources with no benefit to the county itself.

“They use a substantial amount of water,” resident Tom McGrath told the commission. “I do worry about our water tables and the quality of our water. It is our most precious resource. You mess it up, it’s kind of hard to fix.”

He was opposed to the change because he did not want to see outside businesses come into the county without those businesses willing to become part of the community.

“I am concerned that with relaxed restrictions that we’re going to draw in outside entities that basically want to use our resources and little else,” he said. “They’re not going to be invited in our community. They will come in, make use of the resources that they can partially because our restrictions aren’t as tight as they are in other states. “

Roemer said there were currently any permits being requested by large cultivators. No cultivator would be allowed to grow any type of marijuana without a conditional use permit.

Roemer said had the commission approved the change, “it would have opened the door for any other grower to come into any agriculture zone within Warren county and set up shop with an approved CUP, no matter the location.”

Roemer also said the planning and zoning commission could have placed stipulations on the conditional use permit they felt necessary to ensure the safety and well being of the people living in the county.

Planning and zoning chairman Corey Johnston was concerned that if the commission approved Vandiver’s request, it would open the door for the commission to approve all future requests.

“The next person will be like, ‘well, you approved theirs. So why can’t you approve mine?’ he said.

By deciding to deny the change, the commission said it would leave any future facilities to build in commercial areas that have the infrastructure to handle it.

About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at jason@warrencountyrecord.com

warren county, planning, zoning, marijuana, deny