Citizen asks Dayton for ‘sanctuary’ for medical marijuana patients

A Dayton resident has asked the city to pass “sanctuary” policies to allow patients prescribed medical marijuana to possess the drug without fear of criminal charges since the medical cannabis industry is slow to set up shop in Ohio.

At this week’s city commission meeting, Latasha Rountree said the establishment of the state’s marijuana dispensaries in the state has been delayed, and some patients have been arrested and cited for possessing a drug they need for medical reasons.

RELATED: Ohio board cancels plan to announce locations of medical marijuana stores

Rountree asked the city to take action to clarify that patients who have been prescribed marijuana should not be arrested or cited for possession.

“We need to know that we are not going to be over prosecuted since we have done everything the state of Ohio has asked us to do,” she said.

Rountree said she went to school for cannabis cultivation in Michigan and wants to bring her product to Ohio. She described herself as cannabis patient and an entrepreneur.

RELATED: 5 things to know about Ohio’s medical marijuana law

Earlier this week, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy said it was postponing its announcement of medical marijuana dispensary license awards.

Medical marijuana became legal in the state in September 2016 after Ohioans voted in favor of the change.

Rountree asked the city to define "affirmative defense" for law-abiding marijuana patients. Doctors can give Ohioans a statement of affirmative defense to prove they are following state law when they possess marijuana.

The delay of the medical marijuana program means patients still have to figure out ways to get cannabis on their own, she said.

Mayor Nan Whaley thanked Rountree for bringing her concerns forward to the commission. Whaley said Dayton is one of the few cities in the region that has not banned medical marijuana businesses.

“We are paying very close attention because we want it to be regulated well and monitored but we also want people who are in pain to be able to receive the medical treatment they need,” she said.

Whaley said she would talk to the city’s law department about Rountree’s requests related to affirmative defense, but refused to make any kind of commitment.

RELATED: Lack of medical marijuana data troubles Ohio doctors

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