ST. LOUIS ( -- Applications opened this week for medical marijuana facilities in Missouri and the Department of Health and Senior Services says more than 600 people pre-filed with the state.

Now it is up to individual counties and cities to decide where dispensaries, cultivation centers, manufacturing and testing facilities can be located.

The state law says municipalities can require up to a 1,000 foot buffer zone between medical marijuana facilities and places like churches, schools and daycares. But they can choose less.

READ: With marijuana legalization looming, some Metro East cities weighing individual bans

In the City of St. Louis, the Board of Alderman’s zoning would not require any buffer zone and would be allowed in commercial districts. There is some input allowed in districts close to homes.

In St. Louis County they are examining their ordinance. Initially a less than 1,000 foot buffer was proposed but several residents spoke out at county council to voice concerns.

“They want to build dispensaries and grow facilities right next to elementary schools and that’s not a good thing,” said Garrett Mees, a South County resident who spoke up at Tuesday’s council meeting.

After debate at Tuesday’s planning and zoning meeting, Councilmember Tim Fitch said they are recommending a buffer zone of 1,000 feet.

A spokesperson for New Approach Missouri, the initiative to bring medical marijuana to Missouri, said they believe dispensaries should be treated like pharmacies and medical facilities when it comes to zoning.

The state is expected to decide on applicants for medical marijuana facilities by December 2019.

Copyright 2019 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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