Lebanon to vote on marijuana issue this week

Lebanon City Council is expected to gather Tuesday at city hall for a vote on a medical marijuana moratorium. FILE

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Lebanon City Council is expected to gather Tuesday at city hall for a vote on a medical marijuana moratorium. FILE

After hours of debate, Lebanon city council is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to declare a moratorium on medical marijuana cultivation, processing or distribution within city limits.

RELATED: Lebanon council, nation divided over marijuana legalization

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program recently revealed basic information about more than 180 applicants for licenses for small-and large-scale cultivation facilities.

MORE: State identifies cultivation applicants

By Sept. 8, processor, testing lab, dispensary, patient-caregiver and physician certificate rules are to be adopted - exactly a year before the state's medical marijuana program is to be "fully operational," according to the state program's web site.

RELATED: Ohio to license medical marijuana growers

Reactions in area cities have run the gamut from total prohibition to partnerships with applicants for cultivation licenses.

So far, the trend so far has favored moratorium, if not prohibition.

RELATED: Warren County townships declare medical marijuana prohibitions

But Carlisle in Warren County and Yellow Springs in Greene County have responded to the coming of medical marijuana by allowing for a business to set up on municipal property within their limits, once the state regulations take effect.

MORE: Yellow Springs sells land for medical marijuana business

RELATED: Carlisle sells land to for medical marijuana cultivation

And other communities are leaning this way.

Federally, marijuana is still classified by the Food & Drug Administration as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

But Ohio lawmakers legalized medical marijuana earlier this year.

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State law allows for the cultivation, processing or distribution — with a doctor’s note — of forms of the marijuana other than directly the plant.

The Lebanon council is divided on the proposed moratorium, debated over several hours in meetings over the past two months.

Last week, they made no comment during the portion of the last work session scheduled before Tuesday’s vote.

But discussion was rekindled after Councilman Jim Norris noted the continuing debate, since the passing of the deadline for cultivation applications, on how much of the applications should be public.

The deadline passed without an application being approved for the unincorporated areas of Warren County, where zoning officials first indicated interest had been shown.

And there has been no indication any of the state applicants were looking at sites in the county, except in Carlisle.

“That would seem to close the book on it,” Norris said.

However, Mayor Amy Brewer said a vote on the moratorium still was logical, if only to make official the council’s “philosophy” on the issue.

While the cultivation application deadline passed, the state is not expected to roll out rules for processing, distribution or other aspects of the medical marijuana program until September.

Norris said the moratorium vote should be held Tuesday, due to the unsettled nature of the issue.

“We need to see what else is in the hopper,” he said.

Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program Dates

Sept. 8, 2016

Effective date of Ohio House Bill 523. HB 523 establishes the basic framework for Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program.

May 6, 2017

Cultivator rules to be adopted by this date.

Sept. 8, 2017

Processor, testing lab, dispensary, patient-caregiver and physician certificate rules to be adopted.

Sept 8, 2018

Ohio law requires the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program to be fully operational by this date.

Source: Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program

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