MAPLEWOOD • Just days after voters decided to make the sale of marijuana for medical purposes legal in Missouri, Maplewood officials say they are already fielding inquiries from entrepreneurs who want to set up shop there.
City Manager Martin J. Corcoran said another city official has received at least one inquiry, and Mayor Barry Greenberg said he’s received several inquiries from people who “want to get involved at one end or the other of the process.”
If and when that happens in the inner ring suburb that’s become a hot place to live in the past few years will have to wait until the state unfolds its plan to implement the constitutional amendment legalizing medicinal pot that was approved by voters Nov. 6.
Dispensary facilities aren't expected to start popping up until at least late 2019.
While Greenberg said at Tuesday’s council meeting that he expects the municipality won’t have to deal with the issue for “quite awhile,” Corcoran said it could happen sooner than imagined. “I would not be surprised if the issue doesn’t come to the forefront in the next six months,” he said.
And while Greenberg said he thought the number of dispensaries in the state will be limited to 60, Corcoran said he hasn’t heard of any limit.
The next step for the city is for the Planning and Zoning Commission to recommend to the council where marijuana facilities should be allowed to operate.
While some may oppose marijuana shops in Maplewood, “you can’t say no,” Corcoran said in an interview after the meeting.
“Let’s just say you can have 10 medical marijuana places in St. Louis,” he said. “If somebody wants to open one here and we can get one of the 10, I’m assuming that P & Z will allow them to be somewhere (in Maplewood) because it’s against the law to prohibit a legal use in your zoning code.”
Who decides who gets the 10? “I can’t answer that question,” Corcoran said. “That’s an interesting story.
Greenberg said he was attending the National League of Cities’ City Summit in Los Angeles last week when Missouri residents voted to legalize medical marijuana, and several sessions at the conference had to do with the issue. But he added, “I left with a lot more questions than I did answers.”
The details of when and where medical marijuana facilities can operate is not the only election result that’s left Corcoran with questions. Passage of Proposition B will increase the minimum wage in Missouri from the current $7.85 hourly wage to $12 by 2023. The first wage increase is slated for January.
But Corcoran is waiting for the interpretation of the law that says just which workers are covered by the change. “Does that affect the workers that we hire in the city seasonally?” he asked. “Am I required now to pay my lifeguards $15 an hour? If it is, that’s what we’ll do but I’ll have to raise my prices to operate the pool.”