No pot ban in Yellow Springs

Council wants to explore medical marijuana economic development opportunities


UNMATCHED COVERAGE: This news organization has followed various efforts to legalize marijuana in Ohio, including legislation that made medical marijuana legal this year and a ballot initiative that failed in 2015.

The council has decided against a pot ban and instead would like to explore medical marijuana economic development opportunities for the village.

Ohio became the 26th state to decriminalize marijuana on Thursday, however several communities in the Dayton region have opted to impose a ban on the substance which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency still classifies as an illegal drug in the same category as heroin.

“We’re talking about embracing it as opposed to how are we going to fight this,” said Karen Wintrow, the Yellow Springs Village Council president, on Wednesday. “… We’re anxious to not just learn about the regulations that would involve us, but also how the industry is going to move forward.”

There are many questions that would have to be answered, such as locations where medical marijuana could be grown, how it would be processed and who would manufacture it, Wintrow said.

“If the village owns land that would be suitable or an individual that would be interested in processing or cultivation, we would have to look at whether that could be done through a lease or if it has to be a sale, said Christopher Conrad, the village solicitor.”

While the new law recently became effective, the Ohio Department of Commerce and the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy are required to have the state medical marijuana control program fully operational by September 2018.

“Frankly, nothing’s going to happen for a year,” Conrad told the council on Tuesday. “I can’t tell you how it’s going to work. We can use common sense and logic. We can do a study of how other states are doing it.”

Even though the new law isn’t expected to have an immediate impact on communities, several local governments have moved forward with imposing a moratorium on medical cannabis while few have publicly stated they have no plans to keep the drug out of their communities.

In addition to Yellow Springs, West Chester Twp. trustees decided against a temporary medical marijuana ban in July stating it would be premature. In August, Huber Heights City Council decided against implementing a medical pot ban citing the need for more information and feedback from residents.

“I think that the communities that are leaning towards moratoriums are typically inclined to not want to have medical marijuana commerce within their communities for whatever their own reasons are,” Conrad said.

More recently Springfield City Commissioners and Ross Twp. Trustees implemented six-month medical marijuana moratoriums last week. Other communities that have pot bans in place include Beavercreek, Kettering, Miamisburg, Miami Twp., Clayton, Troy and Xenia.

“In some communities, it’s just not a good fit because they don’t’ have land that one would want to cultivate,” Conrad said. “Frankly, on the dispensing side, we already got an infrastructure in place with pharmacies that are already established.”