Some local cities ban, others welcome, medical marijuana

Area communities have been wrestling with the idea that medical marijuana has been legalized in Ohio, but city leaders are debating if they will let dispensaries open their doors.
Area communities have been wrestling with the idea that medical marijuana has been legalized in Ohio, but city leaders are debating if they will let dispensaries open their doors.

Local communities are weighing where they will land as medical marijuana businesses become fully operational by this fall.

Ohio law requires the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program to be fully operational by September 2018. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy has ruled that up to 60 dispensaries stores may be opened.

MORE: Ban medical marijuana businesses, Kettering city staff suggests

Kettering staff members in a presentation to City Council Tuesday evening strongly recommended that there be a permanent ban on medical marijuana businesses in the city.

Yellow Springs is set to become home to one of the first medical marijuana processing facilities in Ohio.

Several local communities — including Oakwood, Huber Heights and Springboro — have passed bans to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries within their borders, while Dayton, Beavercreek and Riverside are among those voting to permit them.

Beavercreek is hosting a symposium Monday night to discuss the issue.

MORE: Medical Marijuana Symposium in Beavercreek

The idea that the FDA has not approved marijuana as a treatment for medical issues is an argument that most cities seeking to ban its use put front and center, along with the fact that federal law still considers the drug illegal.

Kettering Assistant City Manager Steven Bergstresser said a medical marijuana business would be bad for the city.

“We looked at it from a legal perspective, land use perspective and a public safety perspective,” he explained. “From a legal perspective, it is still illegal at a federal level, and so we felt that because of that disconnect between state law and federal law and the fact that businesses operating marijuana operate on a cash-only basis, so it leads to a potential of increased crime.”

MORE: Medical marijuana troubles Ohio doctors: ‘Although it’s natural, (it’s) not like a vitamin’

Beavercreek is weighing its options and plans and is hosting local and state officials at a symposium called “Medical Marijuana and the Impacts to the City,” from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at the Lofino Center, 3868 Dayton Xenia Rd.

Beavercreek City Manager Pete Landrum will provide an update on the status of applications filed with the state for a medical marijuana business in the city, as well as provide information about zoning limitations and the city’s moratorium on medical marijuana that is set to expire in June.

Three medical marijuana companies have applied to the state to operate dispensaries at four proposed locations in Beavercreek. The applications are pending.

MORE: MAP: Where medical marijuana could be grown in Ohio

Kettering resident and business owner Lisa Crosley, said she agreed with city staff’s recommendation to ban medical marijuana businesses.

She said it could “cause legal problems” for the city because it will pit state and federal laws against each other and also cause problems for business owners because of the “bad reputation” marijuana has.

But many companies have evaluated Ohio as a great place to get into the medical marijuana business.

Cresco Labs Ohio LLC is constructing one of Ohio’s first medical marijuana facilities in Yellow Springs. The 50,000-square-foot environmentally sound greenhouse will be built along East Enon Road. It is expected to initially provide about 25 jobs, and possibly more because Cresco will seek a medical marijuana processing license.

"We're looking at a month build that will be followed by some cultivation and we should have product for patients by June of 2018," Cresco Labs CEO Charles Bachtell said. "We are a medical cannabis operator and currently we operate only in medical programs. We've evaluated Ohio for about a year as a medical program so that's what we're focused on right now."

MORE: Medical marijuana lab breaks ground in Yellow Springs

Ohio law prohibits patients from growing marijuana for their own use — they’ll have to buy it from a dispensary and not keep more than a 90-day supply on hand. Parents can give consent to minors to use medical marijuana if approved by a certified physician.

The following forms of medical marijuana are allowed: oils, tinctures, plant material, edibles and patches. The law prohibits smoking and combustion but does allow vaping.

The Ohio Revised Code has strict rules governing dispensaries. They are prohibited from being located within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground, public park or community addiction services provider.