Franklin plans second extension of medical marijuana moratorium

Franklin imposes ban on medical marijuana businesses
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Franklin imposes ban on medical marijuana businesses

City officials said they need more time to determine the potential impact of medical marijuana cultivation, processing or retail dispensary businesses on the city and its residents.

Franklin City Council on Monday will vote to add another 180-day moratorium on such operations in the city.

Mayor Brent Centers said the initial moratorium was implemented in reaction to state plans to expand the number of medical dispensaries across the state.

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Franklin City Manager Jonathan Westendorf requested the extension because the city was still collecting information and additional time is needed to study the impact of these types of medical marijuana businesses could have on city residents.

A new rule approved in April by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to add 73 more dispensary licenses to the 57 already established.

State law empowers village and city councils to regulate the number of retail dispensaries, and the location of medical marijuana cultivators, processors and dispensaries inside the city limits.

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Council placed a 180-day moratorium on establishing such businesses in May that took effect June 16 and expires Dec. 13.

“We need an extension so our new police and fire chiefs could weigh-in on the issue,” Centers said.

Franklin’s new police and fire chiefs have been appointed over the past several weeks.

In August, the city of Lebanon approved a similar moratorium, also in reaction to the new state rules.

Warren, Clinton and Clermont counties are in one of the 31 dispensary zones in the state, according to the new rules.

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There is one dispensary in the zone which is located in Lebanon, About Wellness Ohio, 1525 Genntown Drive, Suite B. The next closest dispensary would be Strawberry Fields, 300 N. Main St. in Monroe.

City Manager Scott Brunka said Lebanon’s zoning code allows medical marijuana dispensaries to be located anywhere a pharmacy can go.

“City staff is determining which zoning districts would be appropriate for these businesses,” he said.

Brunka said the city’s planning commission will review a proposal to limit these businesses to two in a general commercial district at its December meeting.

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