Medical Marijuana Dispensary Before the Board | Webster Kirkwood Times

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A rendering of a possible medical marijuana dispensary at 12095 Manchester Road in Des Peres.


At its July 11 meeting, the Des Peres Board of Aldermen held a hearing for a controversial business planned at 12095 Manchester Road, formerly Paperdolls Women’s Clothing Boutique.

Root 66, a medical marijuana dispensary, is looking to open its fourth St. Louis location in Des Peres. A conditional license to use the business was approved by the city’s planning and planning commission on June 8. The council of aldermen must give its final approval.

Dan Welsh, an attorney representing Fenton’s GF Wellness ownership group, presented the Root 66 concept to the board. Welsh said the group planned to “spare no expense” when building the dispensary, with a clean aesthetic, a floor plan optimized for quick entry and exit, and an understated facade with no obvious images such as marijuana leaves.

“Looking professional is important to us,” Welsh said. “We strive for the look and aesthetics of a high-end drugstore.”

Welsh said the company averages 50 to 60 transactions a day, with customers typically only spending five to seven minutes in the store. The average customer is between 40 and 60 years old.

Joe Delia, retired Deputy Chief of Police and Director of Consulting Services for Garda World Security, is the project’s chief operating officer. Delia was present at the July 11 meeting to explain Root 66’s security measures, which he says far exceed those required by the state.

The layered security approach includes an on-site security guard and 24-hour off-site monitoring. Guests must enter through a mantrap with bulletproof glass and must show a medical marijuana card issued by a doctor to enter. Bollards at the front will prevent drive-by theft and products will be housed in gun safes inside a steel-lined safe.

Delia said that despite this over-the-top security, none of the Root 66 locations have been tested to date. Des Peres Police Chief Eric Hall said he found similar results with medical marijuana dispensaries in nearby locations – of the 10 locations he contacted, none had called police over the past year.

Welsh closed his presentation by reminding the council that 62.58% of Des Peres voters approved Amendment 2, which legalized medical marijuana in Missouri in 2018.

“I grew up in Kirkwood, so this is also a personal project for me,” he said. “We have received many letters of support, including from Senator Andrew Koenig, who represents the district. Of course, we would also have a lot of support from the community.

Several members of the board of aldermen, however, have expressed concerns about the future of Root 66 — specifically, what will happen if recreational marijuana is legalized in Missouri in an upcoming election.

Welsh responded that Root 66 would have to repeat the permit application process to switch to recreational marijuana and would abide by all laws put in place by the city of Des Peres.

Des Peres Mayor Mark Becker told the board that he received a petition against the dispensary signed by about 30 residents, along with numerous emails for and against.

During the public comment period, comments ranged from concern over the legitimacy of the medical marijuana cards to calling the proposed storefront facade “tacky.”

The fate of Root 66 will be determined at the Des Peres Council of Aldermen meeting on Monday, August 8.

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