Meeting held on medical marijuana buffer zones in Cape Girardeau

Planning & Zoning Committee proposes 500 foot buffer zone

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Cape Girardeau is a step closer to setting up a buffer zone for potential medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

At a meeting on Wednesday night, June 12, the Planning and Zoning Committee voted seven to one in favor of plan to allow dispensaries to operate within 500 feet of churches, day cares and schools throughout the entire city.

It’s a change from a previous proposal which would have set buffer zones dispensaries at 200 feet downtown and 1,000 feet for every other district in Cape.

The commission did keep the maximum buffer zone distance of 1,000 feet in place for all other medical marijuana facilities used for cultivation, manufacturing, transporting and testing cannabis.

Numerous property owners testified at Wednesday’s meeting, including Eric Gooden who owns a remodeled building at the 1802 Broadway street that fell just outside the originally proposed buffer zones.

Gooden says he is getting calls from parties who want to rent his building to start a medical marijuana dispensary.

While he says he’s not sure he’d rent to a dispensary he wants it to be an option and to see the zones be consistent throughout the entire city.

“I really feel like it should be 200 feet, or it should be a thousand feet or it should be 500 feet, but it should not be portioned out for different sections of the city," Gooden said. "When we make an exception the central business district, which is like four blocks from me, they can have it and I can’t. And I got an empty building that we made this investment in and we pay property taxes on, to me it doesn’t seem fair.”

The Planning And Zoning Commission is asking for public input.

The city council is expected to vote on the proposal at it’s next council meeting on July 1 at 5 p.m.

On Wednesday, the city posted a survey online asking the public to weigh in. You can find the survey here.

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