Ellisville Plans Ahead for Possible Marijuana Legalization

Michael Calhoun
February 12, 2018 - 2:55 am
Medical marijuana in large jar at a legal marijuana dispensary.

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ELLISVILLE (KMOX) -- If marijuana gets legalized in Missouri, this town in west St. Louis County wants to make sure it's first in line for the resulting 'green' rush.

Ellisville councilman Ken Newhouse calls medical marijuana an "interesting" way to bring new revenue into a city that's seen sales taxes from traditional stores fall. (He blames Amazon.)

Last year, council members decided to include marijuana in their master planning. Now, Newhouse says they're exploring more specifically "the possiblity of incorporating either a medical cannibis dispensary in Ellisville or growers with a hyproponic greenhouse."

If someone wanted to open a marijuana storefront, they'd likely look first at the town's main drag.

But "if it doesn't work out on Manchester for the retail dispensary," Newhouse says, "I think there could probably be something on Clarkson Road. We do have several business parks (there) where it's off the main road" and away from schools.

The council discussed this at their work session last week. It was suggested a greenhouse would seem to work best in the light industrial area off Old State Rd.

Newhouse estimates as many as 65 percent of his Ellisville neighbors are open to this budding industry. He says the studies he's read from Colorado and Oregon found rising property values as one of the only results. 

Of course, there's an issue with the industry being illegal in this state.

Newhouse says he's a Republican and he thinks that medical cannibis will pass in Missouri easily -- like with 70 percent -- if on the ballot. Petition efforts are underway.

For now, Ellisville's conversations are "more of an exploratory process" so they can capture business ahead of their west county neighbors.

"It's better to be prepared and I'm just glad we got rolling on this now," he said.