Decision on Des Peres medical marijuana dispensary appeal delayed

The Root 66 medical marijuana dispensary wants to open on Manchester Road in the current Paperdolls building.

DES PERES, Mo. — Owners of a medical marijuana dispensary will have to wait a little longer to find out if they’ll be able to open up shop in Des Peres. Wednesday night, city leaders decided they need more time to make a final decision.

The Root 66 medical marijuana dispensary wants to open on Manchester Road in the current Paper Dolls Building. Two doors down is the Mathnasium tutoring center, which city officials say technically isn’t a school.

At a Board of Adjustment meeting, leaders heard an appeal to the city’s determination about the tutoring center. Under state law, a dispensary cannot open within 1,000 feet of a school.

“I don’t think there’s any dispute that Root 66 has to abide by this particular requirement and ordinance and I don’t think there’s ever been any question that the Mathnasium is only 45 feet away from the Root 66 dispensary,” said Attorney Meghan Lamping.

The Mathnasium said it is a school because K-12 students come there for math instruction, six days a week. Attorneys argued Des Pere’s own city code doesn’t even define what a school is. They’re also upset that some nearby businesses claim they were blind-sided by the Root 66 dispensary requesting to move in.

“For me to contact every building every time I have an inquiry such as that which I had in December would be exorbitant and the expectation that I would analyze every building, every business to see if it would be a daycare, childcare, church or school also seems it would be a bit ponderous since we already have a record established by the Board of Aldermen where the churches, schools and daycare centers are,” said Public Works Director Steve Meyer. “If you ask people on the street what are the schools in Des Peres, they would name them off and I don’t believe they’d include Mathnasium.”
“If we allow this, we are not protecting our children,” Lamping argued.

The manager for the adjoining plaza told the Board several businesses are concerned and she fears their clientele would suffer if the dispensary opens next door.

An attorney for Root 66 questioned everything the opposing side had to say.

Leaders discussed the issue for about three hours. Wednesday, the Board of Adjustment decided not to make a decision on the appeal after all. They want to give it a little more time and visit the matter yet again in a special meeting on May 4.

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