MIAMI COUNTY — Local township trustees gathered in Springcreek Township Thursday evening to hear from Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell and Chief Civil Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Chris Englert, who briefly discussed medical marijuana facilities.
“There’s been no changes to the law,” Englert said. The state is still allowing municipalities to ban medical marijuana facitlies through a temporary moratorium or their zoning codes.
“We have drafted on behalf of one township a resolution to outlaw or ban it permanently,” Englert said.
As the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office is the legal representation for all of the townships in the county, Englert offered to draft legislation for other townships if they wish to ban medical marijuana facilities in some form. The prosecutor’s office has previously provided legislation to townships to approve a moratorium preventing medical marijuana facilities from locating within a township.
“If you want to make a series of temporary moratoriums, so to speak, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Englert said.
Englert estimated that seven or eight of the 12 townships in Miami County had approved some type of legislation banning medical marijuana facilities in some form, whether through a moratorium or through the zoning code. The cities of Piqua, Tipp City, and Troy, along with a number of villages, have approved bans against medical marijuana facilities in their respective zoning codes.
One attendee asked if there would be any tax benefits if a township decided to allow a medical marijuana facility to locate within the township.
“Would there be any taxes on these growing operations or anything like that that townships would benefit from?” the attendee asked.
“That’s certainly possible,” Englert said. He said that he was not sure at that moment, but added that the prosecutor’s office could look into it. Englert added that there have been townships which have not banned medical marijuana facilities, but he did not specify if these townships were located in Miami County or elsewhere in the state.
“Perhaps they are expecting to get some kind of tax benefit,” Englert said.
Ohio’s medical marijuana industry is not expected to be operational until September 2018. The state is only allowing approximately 60 dispensaries to obtain licenses to sell medical marijuana within the entire state.
“As far as the state regulations and so forth, I know regulations are still being put in place. From what I understand, it will be months before the first cultivation license will be in issued,” Englert said.
Also during the meeting, Englert updated the townships on how to reinstate reimbursing certain medical costs and insurance premiums to their employees and elected officials. While the townships may have previously been penalized under the Affordable Care Act for doing so, through the 21st Century Medical Cures Act that former President Barack Obama approved before leaving office, townships may be able to reinstate that option if they had one as long as they do not offer a health insurance plan of their own, are composed of fewer than 50 employees, and offer the same option reimbursement options to all employees.
The townships may not be able to start providing reimbursements right away for some elected officials, as it may qualify as a mid-term change in compensation, which the state of Ohio prohibits for elected officials. The townships were referred to the prosecutor’s office on how to participate in the 21st Century Medical Cures Act, including in reference to drafting their own legislation to reinstate the reimbursement of certain medical costs for employees, without violating the Affordable Care Act or the Ohio Revised Code.
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