Lebanon considering new medical marijuana regulations

Lebanon has taken another step forward to develop regulations for medical marijuana businesses and is expected to give final approval at its next meeting.

City Council held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance that would regulate state-approved medical marijuana businesses locating in the city.

Officials have been reviewing the issue for the past several months during the current six-month moratorium on new facilities in the city. There is currently one medical marijuana dispensary operating in the city.

ExploreLebanon extends medical marijuana moratorium again

The current moratorium extension will expire in late August. Council was prompted to impose the current moratorium after a new rule by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy allowed the increase of medical marijuana dispensaries from one to seven in the district that includes Warren, Clinton and Clermont counties.

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

Brunka told council that the city did not have any medical marijuana facilities such as dispensaries, production, cultivation and the current moratorium will be expiring.

He said the zoning code text amendments would establish regulations for medical marijuana facilities and have been recommended by the city Planning Commission.

ExploreLebanon to consider new limit on more medical marijuana dispensaries

The proposed regulations for dispensaries would include:

• Recreational Dispensary prohibited in all zoning districts if state law should change.

• Maximum of two medical marijuana facilities within city limits and only be permitted in General Commercial District, excluding the Central Business District.

• No medical marijuana dispensary would be located within 500 feet of a school, church, public park, public playground, or public library consistent with state law.

The proposed regulations for cultivation and manufacturing facilities would include:

• Permitted as a conditional use which would require a public hearing in the Industrial Districts. They would not be permitted in any other zoning district.

• No medical marijuana cultivation / manufacturing facility shall be located within 500 feet of a school, church, public park, public playground, or public library consistent with state law.

• Retail sales would not permitted.

• The exterior of facility shall be properly screened so that it’s activities cannot be seen by the public within the right of way.

Shelley Brown, director of the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Warren County, spoke in opposition to more medical marijuana facilities and asked if there was a need for a second store. She said this sends a lot of counter-messages being sent by the proposed regulations.

“We’re here to encourage you to do your research,” she said.

Brown said young people obtain and abuse medical marijuana from their parents’ who receive prescriptions.

Zach McDaniel of Talbert House also provided some substance abuse data for council.

Councilman Mike Cope said these businesses are not “Mom & Pop” shops and the Lebanon dispensary is owned by a Connecticut company.

“There are facilities all around us,” Cope said. This promotes an acceptance I don’t want to see in Lebanon.”

Council will hold its final vote on the proposed changes at its May 24 meeting.

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