State Fair Marijuana Display

The Sedalia Planning and Zoning Commission has approved its ordinance on medical marijuana after much debate, deciding on limiting dispensaries to be 1,000 feet away from any secondary or elementary school, child daycare, church, or building regularly used as a place of worship. 

The commission met Tuesday evening in the Municipal Building council chambers and hosted a public forum on medical marijuana, passed a special use permit for a cremation center, and passed the final ordinance on the city’s medical marijuana rules. 

According to state law, medical marijuana facilities have to be separated into two locations and facilities, one for manufacturing and another for dispensing. The state amendment requires that no facility be within 1,000 feet of any elementary or secondary school, child daycare center, church, or other building regularly used as a place of religious worship. 

In its last meeting, the commission discussed 1,000 feet for dispensaries on schools and 300 feet for daycares and places of religious worship. City officials’ reasoning was that they are trying to keep the dispensaries in certain commercial areas largely due to safety. The dispensaries can only use cash so there is a concern for robberies. 

“We’re really trying to keep a very public eye on the type of business that it is... The more traffic going by it, the business is going to be more visible to the public, and hopefully that can help drive any of the crime associated with it down and that was input the we got from our chief of police,” Community Development Director John Simmons said. 

Several concerned citizens spoke during the public hearing, urging the commission to extend the regulation to 1,000 feet for daycares and churches. 

“I serve a lot of churches in this community that activities that may or may not qualify as daycare but have a lot of children, youth and folks that I think would be better served being away from this particular industry, “ said President of the Pettis County Ministerial Association Chad McMullin. 

“Also I have 30 to 50 people every Wednesday and Sunday at First Christian Church in a Narcotics Anonymous ministry that struggle with substance abuse and I think it’s in their best interest to be further away from this.”

Sedalia School District 200 Board President Dr. Jeffrey Sharp, First United Methodist Church Pastor Jim Downing, Broadway Presbyterian Church Pastor Robert Hughes and Dianne Simon all voiced their support of adding the 1,000-foot regulation for daycares and places of worship as well. 

Business owners Julia and Tony Craptree urged the commission to stay with the 300-foot limit. They were looking at a property for a medical dispensary that would not be a viable option if the commission changed it to 1,000 feet. Julia also spoke on how beneficial medical marijuana can be for certain individuals. 

“I have a natural wellness business and I have tons of people who come in on a regular basis that western medicine has just given up on...I understand the stigma. I understand all of these things but there are truly medical cases out there that need this,” she said. “The facilities will be, at least from my standpoint and what we’re doing, ran as a medical facility. We are bound by all of the rules, regulations, and security for medical facilities.”

The commission also discussed how the distance would be measured. State regulations state the measurements start at the property line, but there was discussion on whether the city should change it to measure from the building. The commission ultimately voted to keep the state’s regulations with board member Valerie Bloess being the only opposing vote. Bloess cited her concerns over how large a property could potentially be. 

After the public hearing, the commission unanimously voted for the 1,000 feet regulations for elementary or secondary school, child daycare center, church, or other building regularly used as a place of religious worship. The members then unanimously passed their entire ordinance on medical marijuana to go to the Sedalia City Council. Council is expected to address the ordinance during its June 17 meeting. 

The commission then passed a special use permit to Rea Funeral and Cremation Services LLC for the building of a human cremation facility at 3510 W. 16th St. Ron Salvator of Mathews Environmental Solutions addressed some concerns the commission had, stating there would be no smell or smoke and that the equipment is regularly inspected. 

The commission also granted an applicant request to rezone a property at 1006 N. Osage Ave. from a C-3 commercial property to a M-1 light industrial property. 

Members Connie McLaughlin, Teresa McDermott, Greg Nehring and Jeff Wimann were absent.

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