Local governments struggle with coming medical marijuana legalization

What to do about legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio continues to be a topic of study, discussion and consideration by local governments around the area and state of Ohio.

On Thursday, the Springboro City Council moved forward with a prohibition on cultivation, processing and distribution of marijuana for medical use to a second reading.

RELATED: Communities approach medical pot in different ways

The council held a first reading on prohibition after a public hearing on the issue during which no one other than Dan Boron, the city’s planning consultant, spoke.

The prohibition would replace an existing moratorium - after council approval.

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The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control program is currently reviewing 185 applications for 24 cultivation licenses.

RELATED: New rules set for medical marijuana use in Ohio

Ohio’s medical marijuana law, passed last year, allows people with 21 medical conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and epilepsy, to purchase and use marijuana after getting a doctor’s recommendation.

The law doesn’t allow smoking, but use in other forms.

The Springboro prohibition would replace a moratorium in place since last August.

Since then, the city has researched and discussed what to do on the issue.

“It was determined we would deny this in all of our zoning districts,” City Manager Chris Thompson said at Thursday’s council meeting.

The prohibition would not prevent research or use of medical marijuana as permitted by new state law, Boron said in a memo to the Springboro council.

RELATED: New rules set for medical marijuana use in Ohio

Communities around the Dayton area and across Ohio are responding in different ways to the new law.

Clearcreek Twp., the unincorporated area around Springboro, is moving toward prohibition of use of land within its limits for cultivation, processing or distribution of medical marijuana. This would bring it in line with every other township in Warren County administering zoning through the county government, except Franklin Twp.

Oakwood and Middletown are among area municipalities where all land uses are prohibited. Hamilton banned only dispensaries.

On the other hand, proposed area locations for medical marijuana cultivation sites include spots in Huber Heights, Riverside, German Twp., Dayton, Yellow Springs, Mad River Twp., Monroe and Carlisle.

Last week, Lebanon City Council culminated months of debate over declaring a moratorium by letting the proposed legislation die without a vote.

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Lebanon Law Director Mark Yurick said the council might still consider banning distribution of medical marijuana from dispensaries within city limits.

Yurick said it was his opinion that the passing of the state deadline created legal problems for local governments yet to prohibit cultivation or processing.

"I think there would be a fight, if somebody wanted to," he said.

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