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Council OK’s use, sales of recreational marijuana in Jefferson City

by Cameron Gerber | February 7, 2023 at 4:02 a.m.
The seal of the City of Jefferson hangs in the council chambers at the John G. Christy Municipal Building, also known as city hall, in Jefferson City.

The Jefferson City Council voted to approve the use and sale of recreational marijuana in the community, setting the stage for the first legal sales in Missouri's Capital City.

The bill amends local code to comply with the statewide changes from Amendment 3, a statewide ballot measure that legalized adult recreational marijuana use. The bill also alters current medical marijuana business licenses to allow for recreational sales under the new comprehensive facility standards.

Second Ward Councilman Mike Lester attempted to alter two sections of the drafted bill, hoping to narrow the language closer to what he saw as the community's need.

"It's agreeing to put in place laws or regulations which a significant portion of the population is not going to obey," he said. "I think these are some areas of this that fall under that type of language."

Lester also voiced concerns about regulating use on university campuses within the area, though City Attorney Ryan Moehlman said that still fell under federal law as institutions like Lincoln University are publicly funded.

Other members, however, said they were more comfortable keeping the bill as close to the constitutional amendment's language as possible to ensure local regulations did not stray from state law.

"I just want to remind the council this initiative did pass statewide and failed in Cole County, I don't see any problem with taking the full extent of the recommended language," Councilman Ron Fitzwater said. "I would be in opposition to making changes, especially when we don't know what the consequences were."

The bill ultimately passed as written without opposition after Lester's motion to amend the language failed to receive a second.

Voters passed Amendment 3 in November, legalizing the use and possession of up to 3 ounces of recreational marijuana for those 21 and up as well as the manufacturing and sale of marijuana products by licensed businesses.

The amendment took effect a month later, decriminalizing use and possession, and the state began processing applications for medical facilities hoping to offer recreational services Friday.

The council also approved the appointment of Clint Smith as the new director of Planning and Protective Services. Smith was unanimously approved to take over for outgoing director Sonny Sanders, who is retiring Feb. 16.

Smith has served as a senior planner with Columbia for nine years after a tenure in the Chicago area, he said.

"I appreciate the opportunity to come down, and I appreciate the opportunity for the position," Smith said. "I'm excited to take on this challenge moving forward."

Sanders thanked his staff for the work they had done under his purview over the years.

In other business, the council unanimously approved a $69,950 contract with Automotive Technology Inc. for the removal and replacement of the transit current lift system, a trio of bills cleaning up outdated timed parking limitations and a plan for an industrial development project at Scholastic. That bill would allow for the issuance of taxable industrial development bonds up to $44.7 million for the construction of a new conveyor system, automation equipment and other machinery.

Print Headline: Council OK’s use, sales of recreational marijuana in city


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