City leaders consider prohibiting marijuana cultivation

By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor

Grove City Council will consider whether to prohibit the cultivation, processing, or retail dispensing of marijuana within city limits.

The council discussed the issue at a recent meeting but decided to hold off on a vote until Feb. 5.

In November 2023, voters approved Issue 2, which allows adults to buy, possess, and grow marijuana for recreational use. This law went into effect on Dec. 7.

Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said the legislation introduced by the city’s administration just buys time so the city officials can understand the rules.

“This is nothing but high road folks,” said Stage. “We’re taking the high road until more specific instructions are given to us. From enforcement to administration, it’s loosey goosey.”

According to Stephen Smith, the city’s law director, recreational marijuana is technically legal, however no licenses have been issued and there is no framework in place by the state on how to issue the license.

“The will of the people is clear,” said Smith. “The problem is we don’t know what the law will look like. It is legal, but you can’t buy it anywhere or sell it anywhere.”

Smith said the proposed legislation would take recreational cannabis and make it consistent with the city’s code for medical marijuana.

Council members were hesitant to sign off on the legislation to prohibit the commercial sale of marijuana.

Councilman Randy Holt said he was elected to represent the people of Grove City and more than 17,000 residents in the city voted on Issue 2. Holt said the data he read shows that 56 percent of the voters in the city voted in favor of making recreational marijuana legal.

“For me, this is probably a precursor of the administration’s will not to have marijuana, so I will be voting with the people since I have clear data from the people’s position,” said Holt.

Councilwoman Christine Houk said she sees it from both sides where the city’s administration is giving the state time to formulate the rules, but also said council members are representative voices of the constituents, who approved the issue.

Councilman Ted Berry said he is concerned with the messaging.

“My issue is the message we send,” said Berry. “It’s the government trying to change the will of the people. That’s what I have a problem with.”

Smith said the legislation just gives the city time to understand what the rules will be.

“It is legal to use marijuana that was purchased from a legal place, but there are no legal places in Ohio right now,” said Smith.

While the passage of Issue 2 legalizes the recreational use of marijuana, it does not amend the constitution, giving legislators the ability to make changes to the law. The law also enables municipalities to decide whether to permit dispensaries in their communities.

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