Beavercreek council OKs medical marijuana ban

The moratorium will be in effect until January.

The moratorium, which puts a hold on permits for cultivators, processors and medical marijuana dispensaries, went into effect immediately after the vote. It won’t end until four months after the state medical marijuana law goes into effect in September.

On Monday, the exact number of council members who approved the measure was unclear. A roll call vote was not taken, however Beavercreek City Councilwoman Melissa Litteral was the sole dissenting vote against the drug moratorium.

Two council members, Zach Upton and Julie Vann, were absent from the meeting.The city council has seven members.

The moratorium is being considered to give the council and staff time to research and decide whether to limit or ban medical marijuana growth, processing or retail sale of the drug. The city could also use the time to implement alternative regulations related to medical marijuana locations and operations in the city.

“During that period I think it’s important that we look at this particular bill and as to how regulation might be crafted as to the city of Beavercreek,” said Stephen McHugh, legal counsel for the city. “This moratorium is designed to allow council time to do that.”

City staff have the ability to review the bill and evaluate similar regulations in other cities without having a marijuana moratorium in place, Litteral said.

“You can approve something like this (medical marijuana) and still keep the community safe,” she said.

Litteral said she hoped the ban on the drug don’t force residents to go outside the community for prescribed marijuana.

The city’s marijuana moratorium comes more than a month after Gov. John Kasich signed a bill, on June 8, making cannabis legal for medical use.

The bill will go into effect in September making Ohio the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana.

Diana Widmeyer, a Beavercreek resident, told the council she didn’t want the drug in the city.

“I’m wondering does our vote count,” Widmeyer said. “This community voted against marijuana and I think we were right.” An issue on November’s ballot to legalize marijuana in Ohio failed in Beavercreek.

Beavercreek is the most recent example of local governments who are considering banning the drug. Last week, Liberty Twp. trustees met with State Sen. Bill Coley, R-West Chester Twp. to discuss placing a moratorium on medical marijuana businesses while state agencies work on rules for the new law.

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