In 2016, Ohio became the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana. LAURA A. BISCHOFF/STAFF

Springfield medical pot advocate: End of ban good for business

A Springfield advocate for medical marijuana businesses said she’s glad the city allowed its temporary ban on them to expire while some residents said they can see pros and cons allowing them.

The city ended its temporary ban on medical marijuana businesses last week, a week after the state said it will allow up to two dispensaries in the region covering Clark, Champaign and Union counties.

RELATED: Springfield medical marijuana ban ends, area gets 2 dispensaries

The counties have been allotted a total of two dispensaries — essentially a retail store where medical marijuana will be distributed, according to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.

Springfield city commissioners first placed a six-month temporary ban in August 2016 on new medical marijuana-related businesses. That came after Gov. John Kasich signed a bill in 2016 making cannabis legal in Ohio for medical use.

The city extended the moratorium in February for another six months to allow staff members to research whether they would have to change any local zoning regulations or other laws because of the state’s new regulations. In July, the moratorium was extended again until last week, allowing time for staff members to review final rules for dispensing and processing businesses that were released earlier this month.

Renea Turner, a local advocate for medical marijuana businesses, said the allowing the moratorium to expire will be a great opportunity for the city. Turner has said that she wants to apply for a dispensary license and open one of the stores in Springfield.

READ MORE: Springfield extends medical marijuana moratorium until September

“We have missed the window on a couple of opportunities but there is still the dispensing part so that’s something Springfield would be able to participate in,” she said.

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program and the State Board of Ohio Pharmacy announced it will accept dispensary applications from Nov. 3 to 17. A total of 60 dispensaries will be allowed in four different regions throughout Ohio, including 15 in southwestern Ohio.

Southwest District 8, which includes Clark, Champaign and Union counties, will have two dispensaries.

Turner hopes to receive one of those state licenses and said she wants to help potential users and the public learn about the benefits of the drug and its products.

“They will be able to use edibles, oils, topicals and plant form but in plant form, you can smoke it but only if it’s in a vape,” Turner said.

MORE: Medical marijuana businesses interested in Clark County

Another Springfield resident, J.R. Miller, said he can see pros and cons to medical marijuana but overall is OK with the businesses being inside the city limits.

“If it’s medical, I guess it could be worked out,” he said. “It could work out to be good for the people that medically need it.”

He hopes people use it wisely.

“They could pilfer some of it on the side and what not after it been in here for a while,” Miller said.

The city has received some inquiries about available space. It will not know if it has been chosen as a potential dispensary location until after applications are no longer accepted in November.

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