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Marijuana drive-through merely a "convenience"; no practical difficulty shown

Organic Remedies Mo, Inc. (“Organic”) sought a nonuse variance from the St. Louis County Board of Zoning Adjustment (“BZA”) to construct a drive-through lane in the front yard of the property. After denial of the variance, Organic sued the BZA alleging it had demonstrated the appropriate practical difficulties standard as it related to the property, and therefore the BZA erred in denying its variance request, among other allegations. While it was established that a drive-through could not be put on the property without a variance, Organic failed to meet its burden to prove it could not operate a medical marijuana dispensary without the drive through. Thus, the Eastern District held that while Organic demonstrated that the drive-through for its customers would be “preferable and more convenient[,] … these issues do not establish a practical difficulty in achieving the permitted use as a medical marijuana dispensary.” State of Missouri ex rel. Organic Remedies MO, Inc. v. Board of Zoning Adjustment of St. Louis County, 21SL-CC04668 (Mo. App. E.D. August 29, 2023), Page 7. As the variance is not “intended to ‘relieve mere inconvenience[,]’” the BZA had competent and substantial evidence justifying the denial of the request for a drive-through variance. Id. The Court also held that the BZA’s “statement regarding the basis of its decision incorporated into the minutes of the Board meeting, along with the record of the members’ votes was enough to satisfy the [requirements of Section 536.090 RSMo.] requiring written findings of fact and conclusions of law. Id. at 9.

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