Council imposes moratorium for medical marijuana

CLAYTON — A resolution imposing a 180 day moratorium on the granting of any permit allowing retail dispensaries, cultivators, or processors of medical marijuana within the city was passed Thursday by city council.

“As the result of the state of Ohio recently passing legislation concerning medical marijuana, which goes into effect September 8, staff is requesting that we put a 180 day moratorium on the law coming into effect in the city limits to enable staff to have the opportunity to study the new legislation and come up with appropriate suggestions on how we would legislate that within the city limits,” said Director of Development Jack Kuntz.

Mayor Joyce Deitering asked if the city would be addressing updating its zoning map. Kuntz said that it is the staff’s desire to address the city zoning code but that it could take place sometime down the road. The city received a grant to develop a comprehensive plan, after which staff will address the zoning code.

“If this is prescribed by a doctor for one of our residents, what do we tell them?” asked Vice Mayor Tim Gorman. “Go to Indiana or Colorado and get it, or what do we tell them? I know every city and every municipality in the whole state stalled it so we might as well tear the Ohio Revised Code up and throw it in the trash.”

Kuntz stated that if council was to pass the moratorium right now, it would not permit retail dispensaries, cultivators of processing of medical marijuana within the city limits.

“It would not allow anything that the state legislation put into effect and that is now legal, but to be quite frank with you I haven’t read this with a fine tooth comb,” Kuntz said. “These are things that we need to study, which is why we need the moratorium in place in order for staff to really get a good handle on what this legislation means for us. We haven’t had a chance to study this issue to give you a good answer to your question, let alone how we are going to legislate it.”

Deitering asked if the city would be arresting people that had a prescription for medical marijuana. Kuntz said that would be a great question for Police Chief Matt Hamlin.

“I don’t think we can put a moratorium on an Ohio Revised Code provision that allows people to use it for medical purposes,” said Councilman Dennis Lieberman.

City Manager Rick Rose said that was not the intent.

“We are not doing that,” Rose said. “Actually we are putting a moratorium on where to allow retail dispensaries, processors, or cultivators of medical marijuana within the city of Clayton. That’s all we are doing.”

Lieberman felt that sounded more reasonable.

“We are going to be talking to our legal counsel to get a handle on what they would suggest and I would also like to reach out to other communities to see what is being proposed in other communities as a starting point,” Kuntz added. “This is something that is new to me as a development professional and as a zoning professional. It is something we have never had to address in the state of Ohio. There is going to have to be a lot of research done in order to get handle on how people can go about doing this in communities.”

Rose said that in speaking with other city managers the concern was that as soon as the new state law goes into effect in September somebody could come in to file an application for permit even though all the rules have not been laid out yet.

By Ron Nunnari

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Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email [email protected] or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind