TROY — The Troy Planning Commission tabled action regarding a citywide ban on medical marijuana retail dispensaries, cultivators, and processors in order to allow the entire commission to cast its vote on a recommendation for city council’s consideration.
Commission members Tom Force, Sue Knight, and Dee Mahan were not in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting. Ohio’s medical marijuana bill goes into effect Sept. 8. Troy City Council adopted emergency legislation to declare an 180-day moratorium on permits to establish retail dispensaries, cultivators and processors of medical marijuana within the city limits on July 18, to research the law as it goes in effect next month.
Planning and Zoning Manager Tim Davis presented the proposed ban of medical marijuana “in order to preserve the public peace, health, and safety” of Troy.
“What we are requesting is a recommendation from the planning commission to city council for a citywide ban on retail dispensaries, cultivators, and processors,” Davis said.
Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington, a commission member, said the recommendation does not take a stance against medical marijuana. A resident who has a prescription for medical marijuana would have to have it filled in another town.
Commission member Larry Wolke said he supports the medical marijuana being dispensed at local pharmacies, but did not support the cultivation or processors part of the proposal.
Commissioner Jim McGarry asked why the planning commission was considering the ban.
Titterington highlighted that the ban would not only include the ban of pharmacy sales, but also cultivation and land use within city limits. Titterington said the state allows municipalities to opt out of allowing the sale, dispensing, and growth of medical marijuana if they so chose.
Titterington said the recreational marijuana bill failed last November and the city’s law enforcement is not in favor of the city allowing medical marijuana being dispensed within city limits.
“From the staff perspective, we don’t think it’s appropriate,” Titterington said. “There were several different issues on the ballot issue in addition to medical marijuana, so there were lots of things to either to love or hate in that vote depending on which side you fell on. This is indeed narrower, but we don’t expect there is going to be independent businesses — we haven’t heard anything yet — that is going to be completely dedicated to the sale of medical marijuana.”
Titterington said other communities could provide outlets for medical marijuana prescriptions.
Commissioner Wolke said the November ballot issue, which failed to pass, was centered around recreational use. Wolke said he believes that the majority of Ohioans support medical use of marijuana.
According to a poll released last February, three out of four Ohioans said access to marijuana for certain medical conditions should be a constitutional right, according to a Public Policy Polling survey. The survey was commissioned by national group Marijuana Policy Project. The poll surveyed 672 registered voters in February.
Wolke said anyone with a prescription can have access to high-powered opioids.
“By comparison, a prescription for medical marijuana is pretty innocuous,” Wolke said. “I just personally have a problem taking a medical substance, which the medical community would have to find it appropriate for a patient to have it, and say, ‘You can’t buy it here. You can’t grow it here, you can’t process it here.’ But very addictive things, you can go out to Wal-Mart and get them. That’s my position.”
Mayor Michael Beamish said the medical marijuana issue would most likely be a philosophical issue, and supported the citywide ban recommendation.
“I’m certainly not in favor for allowing marijuana to be legal. I just never have been,” Beamish said, noting he respected Wolke’s position on the issue. “I also know that even with prescriptions, people abuse those all the time. I’m a little concerned, especially when we are trying to focus on addiction, drug abuse and our DARE resource programs.”
Beamish said he is in favor of small business, but “this is a business I would assume to let someone else have an opportunity and not us.”
After further discussion, the commission tabled the issue. President Alan Kappers reminded the commission that they have the option to allow for a public hearing on the subject if they so choose the next time the issue appears on the agenda.
Ohio became the 25th state to enact legislation allowing for the medicinal use of marijuana by approving House Bill 523. The bill will authorize the use of marijuana for medical purposes and establish the Medical Marijuana Control Program, which allows people with certain medical conditions, upon the recommendation of an Ohio-licensed physician certified by the State Medical Board, to purchase and use medical marijuana.
Davis provided the following requirements of the program that impact municipalities:
• Authorizes the legislative authority of a municipal corporation or a board of township trustees to adopt regulations to prohibit retail dispensaries, cultivators, and processors.
• Prohibits a cultivator, processor, retail dispensary, or laboratory from being located or relocating within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground, or public park.
Commissioners approved the following applications:
• Crale Builders applied for an exterior store front alteration and wall sign for “Village Salon” located at 11 S. Market St.
• Amanda Gibson of ALN Senior Care and Home Services applied for a window sign at 30 Public Square. The location is on the National Register of Historic places.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews