Ohio mayors consider options following Issue 2 marijuana passage

Kettering plans freeze on rec marijuana businesses



Mayors in an Ohio group that includes several from the Dayton area are considering local options — including moratoriums — in the wake of Issue 2′s passage legalizing recreational marijuana.

The statewide Nov. 7 voter-approved measure was a topic Thursday in a conference call by the Ohio Mayors Alliance, whose members include Beavercreek, Dayton, Huber Heights, Kettering and Middletown.

Kettering plans to consider a temporary freeze on recreational marijuana businesses, officials said.

Among the issues talked about in the call of the Ohio mayors’ group were “some considerations for any local rules or regulatory needs that our cities may have,” said Keary McCarthy, executive director of the alliance.

While “nothing concrete” was decided, the mayors talked about “a whole range of practical considerations for cities” like public use standards, how to detect impairment and what may be involved in the regulatory process for dispensaries, McCarthy said.

“We just preparing for when this becomes legal and how governments address that and then the longer consideration, which is how you regulate the sale and use,” he added.

The new law will permit Ohioans over the age of 21 to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in plant form or up to 15 grams in extract form and to grow up to six marijuana plants per adult (capped at 12 plants per household).

Issue 2 legalizes possession and home growing of marijuana while creating the Division of Cannabis Control, which will eventually allow the regulated sale and purchase of recreational marijuana products.

The Division of Cannabis Control has nine months to establish its rules and licensing guidelines, but that timeline could be altered if Ohio lawmakers decide to amend Issue 2, an issue that is already being discussed at the statehouse.

Kettering was considering regulatory options for recreational marijuana a few days after Issue 2 was approved, city records show.

A memo dated Nov. 10 includes an option for a moratorium. A proposed nine-month temporary ban is set to be addressed by Kettering City Council on Nov. 28, which is before the legalization for recreational cannabis takes effect Dec. 7, Assistant City Manager Steve Bergstresser said.

Similar temporary bans were approved by several area communities when medical marijuana use was approved by the Ohio General Assembly in 2016.

Kettering — along with several other area cities — already prohibit medical marijuana businesses, Bergstresser said. Beavercreek and Dayton are among cities that allow them.

Kettering Mayor Peggy Lehner, who was on the alliance’s call Thursday, said, “it was very obvious in that discussion that there’s a lot of questions and issues our cities have. And that we try to work on those really quickly.”

Kettering Council’s passage of a moratorium would allow the city “time to understand what the new state regulations are going to look like,” Bergstresser said.

“It gives us time to analyze the potential impacts of cannabis operations in Kettering,” he added. “And whichever direction we’re given — whether to prohibit it or allow those types of business operations — it gives city staff enough time to draft proposed regulations and our own ordinance that would govern that type of activity.”

Staff Writer Avery Kremer contributed to this report.

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