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Columbia medical marijuana dispensary sues city over development issues

The owner of Green Releaf dispensary is suing the city of Columbia over development rules.
ABC 17 News
The owner of Green Releaf dispensary is suing the city of Columbia over development rules.


A Columbia medical marijuana dispensary claims the city's development rules conflict with the laws voters approved.

A lawsuit filed by GRD Columbia, LLC asked a Boone County judge to stop the city from requiring changes to the property based on its development code. That includes landscaping and traffic design rules that the business said would make development unsafe.

GRD Columbia is one of seven businesses in Columbia awarded a dispensary license by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The business, operating as Green Releaf Dispensary at 204 East Broadway and run by Jingneshkumar Patel, claims the city made it follow "arbitrary" development rules that conflict with the state constitutional changes voters approved in 2018 that allowed medical marijuana sales.

The lawsuit from Columbia attorney Danieal Miller said the city is requiring it to install "windows and/or a door" on the west side of the old gas station it is converting into a dispensary. Miller said the state, however, would require the business to cover the windows in order to get a dispensary license. Miller said the city then asked to make landscaping changes to the property to block view of the windows or doors.

"The landscaping requested by the city would not only reduce and/or block motorists' line of sight and significantly reduce hazards, it would also create a perfect cover for those who would rob and/or commit some other crime upon GRD's business premise," Miller wrote.

The lawsuit said the business shouldn't have to follow the unified development code as part of it's work since it's "remodeling" the business, rather than building a new structure. By not going through with the costly work, Miller said, the business may not get a permanent occupancy license, which could put its dispensary license at risk.

Representatives with the city did not return a message seeking comment on Friday. A hearing has not yet been sent.

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Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.


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