Local governments cannot prohibit the use of medical marijuana in Missouri, but they can regulate its sale. The city of Blue Springs is looking at the best ways to implement the sale of medical marijuana, should a dispensary be allowed to set up shop there.

While the sale of medical marijuana cannot be prohibited, the state is only allowing a set number of dispensaries to open.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, 192 dispensary facilities will be granted a license. Also, only 60 cultivation facilities will be licensed, as will only 86 marijuana-infused manufacturing facilities.

According to Mike Mallon, assistant director of community development, the city of Blue Springs is currently under an administrative delay in regard to these applications, meaning the city is not currently accepting building permit requests or zoning verification letters.

“We do that so as to allow us the time to develop the regulations and bring those before the City Council,” Mallon said.

Should any of these be in Blue Springs, the city wants to make sure the regulations are in place, looking at the time, place and manner of operation, which the city is allowed to set under the constitutional amendment passed by voters last fall.

The state requires these facilities to be at least 1,000 feet away from schools and churches. During a City Council work session Monday night, meant to give direction to city staff on how to shape the upcoming ordinance, officials discussed lowering this number to 500.

According to Mallon’s presentation, other businesses are subjected to similar footage restrictions, with alcohol being restricted to 300 feet away from schools and churches, tobacco products 500 feet away, and adult bookstores 1,200 away.

Council members voiced their opinion to keep the distance at 1,000 feet, taking into consideration the number may be lowered in the future.

Looking at a map showing area churches and schools, Council Member Chris Lievsay noted this limited medical marijuana facilities to Adams Dairy Parkway, the area connecting U.S. 40 and Missouri 7 and Woods Chapel Road, and a few outer roads.

“Which are kind of our main shopping areas,” he added.

The distinction between permitted and conditional use permits was discussed as well. If a business petitions the city for a permitted use permit, no public hearing or discussion is required if the business meets the city’s plans and standards. Requiring a conditional-use permit would mean every permit request by a marijuana facility would require a public hearing, and would allow for public input and opinion. Mayor Carson Ross noted this allowed for subjectivity to enter into the equation when considering whether to allow a business to operate.

Other businesses, such as car washes and car sales lots, operate under conditional use permits.

The point was made to consider allowing marijuana facilities to apply under permitted use, but require special conditions enabled by the amendment.

As far as regulating hours of operation, the timeframe of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. was agreed upon.

The discussion made by the mayor and council members were solely suggestions made to city staff members to take into consideration when writing the official ordinance. The language is to be placed before the city Planning Commission May 13 and brought before the council on May 20.

Whether or not Blue Springs will be allowed to have a dispensary or cultivation facility remains to be seen. The state will make applications available online on June 4, and will accept completed applications Aug. 3-17.