Kansas City committee approves compromise on cannabis buffer zones

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A city council committee Thursday approved compromise regulations for Missouri's new medical marijuana industry. The transportation and infrastructure committee agreed to decrease the buffer zone between child care centers and churches.

Two weeks ago the same committee voted to prevent medical marijuana dispensaries from opening within 750 feet of any school, church or child care center. In many areas of Kansas City where churches and day cares are common, that might limit access to cannabis across neighborhoods.

Members of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws pushed to reduce the buffer zone to only 300 feet, something Mayor-Elect Quinton Lucas had proposed earlier.

"I’m personally asking that you guys give us ease of access to dispensaries for 300 feet or less," said Jessica McKinney, a medical marijuana patient. "We deserve to have ease of access to our medicine just like a pharmacy, that does not have any buffer zones."

Committee members reached a compromise, voting to keep a 750-foot setback around schools, but reducing the zoning to only 300 feet from churches or day care centers.

Under state regulations, Jackson County will have 24 cannabis dispensaries. The local regulations also would apply to cultivation and manufacture of marijuana.
The proposed medical marijuana zoning rules are expected to be approved by the full city council later Thursday afternoon.

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