A medical marijuana dispensary plans to open in Beavercreek despite a temporary moratorium on such businesses that could become permanent.
The reason? Timing and potential legal challenges that could cost the city millions.
The current moratorium, which expires in July, and a possible permanent ban that city council may consider soon will not prevent Harvest of Ohio LLC from opening a dispensary at 4370 Tonawanda Trail, according to Beavercreek City Manager Pete Landrum.
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A permanent ban at this point would bar any medical marijuana businesses from moving into the city in the future. However, because Harvest of Ohio submitted its application to the state in December, after the last moratorium was allowed to expire and before the current one went into effect, the city would likely be in an expensive legal battle to try to prevent the business from opening in Beavercreek, Landrum said.
“If council decides to ban it, (Harvest of Ohio) would be grandfathered in. If they ever went out of business, there would be no more,” Landrum said. “There would be legal ramifications if we try to stop it at this point. There would be legal expenses, and if the business was awarded damages, it could be for millions of dollars.”
The city’s zoning code allows for conditional use for medical marijuana businesses at the Tonawanda Trail property, which was formerly a plumbing contracting business, according to Kelly Gray, vice president of Equity LLC, who represent’s the property owner.
The owner is under a purchase agreement with Harvest of Ohio LLC for $395,000, which was the full asking price as the property has been for sale for two years, Gray said.
The buyer liked the 2,835-square-foot property in-part because of its overhead door, Gray said.
Harvest of Ohio and the Beavercreek location was selected by the state board of pharmacy to serve the three-county region of Greene, Fayette and Madison counties. The Tempe-Ariz.-based company was chosen over two other applications from different businesses for locations in Beavercreek and one application for a site in Yellow Springs.
Landrum said Harvest of Ohio has not submitted its plans to the city. He said the city’s planning commission will review the plans and ensure that they comply with the conditional use of the property.
“The planning commission will be interested in how safe they can make this facility,” he said. “It will probably be the most secured business in Beavercreek … I imagine all dispensaries will be really secure. They have to be.”
Beavercreek Mayor Bob Stone said they are still trying to absorb the state’s announcement on Monday of where the medical marijuana dispensaries will be and who will operate them.
In consideration of council’s next move and a possible permanent ban, Stone said it’s “open for discussion.”
“It’s good that we’re able to move forward and make that decision whether to allow some, allow none, or wherever it falls in between,” he said.
Beavercreek City Councilman Zach Upton said some city residents will benefit from having a dispensary nearby.
“I’m hopeful this proves to be a benefit to our community more than a hindrance,” Upton said.
Upton said council needs to “take a close look at the regulations set forth by the state” in considering a permanent ban on medical marijuana businesses.
“I’m not sure it would be appropriate for council to dictate only one company has the ability to do business in Beavercreek but the state has already set some guidelines,” he said.