TROY — Troy City Council’s Law and Ordinance Committee will file two separate recommendations regarding the city’s zoning amendment related to medical marijuana and where it can be dispensed within the city limits.
On Tuesday, committee chairman John Schweser proposed amending the zoning ordinance to limit dispensaries to only three within the B-4 or highway business district, which includes the area of Towne Park and off of Interstate 75 near Dorset. Committee member Lynne Snee supported Schweser’s proposed amendment.
Committee member Bobby Phillips said he was fine with the zoning amendment proposed by city staff and approved by Troy Planning Commission. Phillips said he is fully supportive of the medical marijuana initiative, but opposes recreational use. Phillips said he supports the city’s zoning amendment because it does not include the downtown area.
The amendment will prohibit the dispensing of medical marijuana in the downtown historical district or B-3 central business district.
Schweser said he wanted to limit the zoning amendment further due to the possible future expansion of recreational marijuana in the years to come.
Schweser and Snee will recommend the B-4 Highway District area with only three dispensaries. Phillips will file a minority report supporting the city staff recommendation of up to five in the local retail, general business and highway service districts.
The amendment also 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, which is state law. For example, CVS Pharmacy on West Main Street will be ineligible to dispense medical marijuana due to its proximity to a church on Sherman and Ash streets.
On Nov. 1, Ohio’s medical marijuana committee approved to allow up to 18 growers of medical marijuana. Troy’s proposed zoning amendment would ban the growers or “cultivator” within city limits.
Schweser asked how the city came up with the number of pharmacies allowed to dispense medical marijuana.
City of Troy Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington said as the law stands now, retail pharmacies will unlikely dispense medical marijuana at this time due to federal law conflicts. Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug.
“Nonetheless, we reported to the planning commission that there are five pharmacies in town and that number made sense when we were looking at the three different business districts,” Titterington said.
Schweser asked who can prescribe medical marijuana. City law director Grant Kerber said the state health board is still working on that area of legislation, but a licensed physician will likely have the ability to write a recommendation or prescription for the drug.
“They are slowly developing the rules with regard to this. Right now it’s not set forth and those rules haven’t come out yet,” Kerber said.
Kerber noted the city municipalities had limited regulation power regarding medical marijuana and can only do so through its zoning ordinances.
Council member Robin Oda asked why council was addressing the medical marijuana issue now when the state does not have its guidelines in place.
Titterington said, “We need to have our ducks in a row, if you will, so we define what our standard is going to be.”
Oda asked if council could table the ordinance to allow more time for state information. Titterington said at this present time, the amending of the ordinances would ensure the city would be protected from “gaps” in the law.
Beginning on Sept. 8, Ohio became the 25th state to enact legislation allowing for the medicinal use of marijuana by approving House Bill 523.
On July 18, Troy City Council approved a moratorium of 180 days for permits pertaining to the medical marijuana issue.
The ordinance will have its third reading at the Nov. 7 meeting. Council will meet at 7 p.m. at City Hall on Monday, Nov. 7.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews