LaGRANGE, Mo. -- The LaGrange City Council recently passed an ordinance allowing medical marijuana businesses to operate within the city limits.
The council approved the ordinance at its July 29 meeting after no one spoke at a public hearing on the issue.
The sales of medical marijuana was legalized in Missouri last November when voters approved a statewide ballot initiative. Ever since then, cities across the state have been making plans to allow marijuana-related businesses to begin operating.
"Since it's state law now, we're just complying with it," LaGrange City Administrator John Roach said in an interview.
Roach said at least one individual has expressed interest in opening a medical marijuana-related business in LaGrange, but he added: "It's not a done deal."
Roach said city officials wanted to have an ordinance on the books in case anyone applies for a state license to operate a medical marijuana-related business in LaGrange, such as a dispensary, cultivation facility, testing facility or a marijuana-infused products manufacturing facility.
According to the city's ordinance, published in the Press-News Journal newspaper, any of the above facilities would be required to be at least 300 feet from the property line of any elementary or secondary school, day care or church -- with the exception of dispensaries.
The ordinance says a medical marijuana dispensary may be "0 feet" from a school, day care or church.
"That's right," Roach said. "I don't know if there's any specific reason" why the council decided to allow a dispensary to be so close to a school, day care or church, except that the council was interested in "not limiting" where those businesses could be located, he said.
The ordinance says all medical marijuana facilities "must be entirely operated within an enclosed building structure." It also requires that the words "marijuana" or "cannabis" used in any facility's signage must be immediately preceded by the word "medical."
Roach said any individual or firm proposing to open a medical marijuana facility in LaGrange would have to obtain a business permit from the city and follow all guidelines established by the state.