A marijuana moratorium

By Andrea Cordle
Southwest Editor

Grove City Council has approved a moratorium on marijuana.

At the Nov. 7 meeting, council unanimously approved an ordinance to impose a temporary halt on marijuana cultivation, processing and dispensing in city limits.

In June, the Ohio General Assembly passed HB 523, which allows individuals with certain medical conditions to apply to purchase marijuana with a recommendation by an Ohio-licensed physician. This bill was signed into law by Governor John Kasich in September.

The bill also permits municipalities to adopt restrictions to the law to prohibit or limit the number of cultivators, processors, or retail outlets of medical marijuana within its city limits.

“The city is allowed to regulate this,” said Stephen Smith, law director for Grove City. “This ordinance will put any pot business on hold.”

According to Smith, HB 523 will have the Ohio Department of Commerce, the Board of Pharmacy and the State Medical Board adopt rules and establish standards for the medical marijuana control program.

City leaders said they want a chance to review these rules and guidelines before allowing medical marijuana into Grove City.

According to councilwoman Laura Lanese, who introduced the legislation, the ordinance would give city leaders a one-year window to fully understand the law.

“We can always revoke the moratorium before 12 months,” said Lanese.

Council president Roby Schottke said he has already heard from those interested in setting up marijuana business in the area.

“We want to know the rules of the game before we have any business in Grove City,” he said.

Councilman Steve Bennett said council is not taking a position on the use of medical marijuana, they just want to make certain they have all the facts before opening the door to marijuana cultivation or retail sale.

For more information on the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, visit medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov.

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