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The Russellville Board of Aldermen reviewed two draft ordinances on medical marijuana at its May 16 meeting.

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City attorney Nathan Nickolaus presented the drafts for discussion, noting residents and business owners may seek licenses for use in the next few months.

"Right now, marijuana of all sorts is illegal according to state statues," Nickolaus said. "So possession of marijuana of any sort is a crime."

Both Russellville city ordinances would prohibit residents from using medical marijuana in public and driving while under the influence. The ordinances seek to ensure the proper rules are in place within city limits.

Users must have a permit to show law enforcement and keep the product in its original packaging. Failure to show a permit is punishable of a maximum $50 fine.

"Right now, if you are driving under the influence of marijuana, it is only a crime if you have so much marijuana in you that it's impaired your driving," Nickolaus said. "Under the amendment, any amount of marijuana would be driving under the influence."

Facilities are required to obtain a local business license. An odor control section would require facilities to control the smell of the product. This is an issue most people have with the use, he said.

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The drafts align with The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services recommendation that no medical facility be within 1,000 feet of existing elementary or secondary school, state licensed daycare or church. Board members expressed that restriction may limit the number of facilities that could be in Russellville.

The board has the ability to reduce the distance and regulate hours of operation, stopping sales from 10 p.m.-8 a.m. is suggested in the draft.

"As I go from town to town, and as you know, a lot of the towns I represent are small towns like Russellville," Nickolaus said, "generally it's (medical marijuana) been pretty well received."

DHSS will begin accepting patient and caregiver identification applications July 4. The department will begin accepting facility applications Aug. 3.

Missourians voted to legalize medical marijuana in November.

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