City leaders seek clarity on Issue 2 outcome

By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
Last month, Ohio voters approved Issue 2, which would allow adults 21 years and older to buy, possess, and grow marijuana.
According to the ballot language, this passage means Ohio would create a system that regulates and taxes marijuana like alcohol. Tax revenue would be used to fund public safety initiatives, road improvements, and drug and alcohol treatment programs.
While Issue 2 legalizes the recreational use of marijuana, it does not amend the constitution, meaning the Ohio legislature could make changes. This has left local entities, like Grove City, looking for clarity.
At a recent council meeting, Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said city leaders are waiting to see what happens in the state legislature but said the city would have to change ordinances and change police enforcement practices.
Stage reported that what he is hearing from the Ohio Municipal League and the Ohio Mayor’s Alliance is that cities may be able to impose additional requirements. He said some cities are even exploring the idea of passing a moratorium.
“We understand the full spirit of what was passed, but there are things we can do to help mitigate potential issues down the road,” said Stage. “We need guidance to make sure we put as many safeguards in as possible to protect our residents.”
According to the city’s legal representation, the ballot language becomes effective on Dec. 7, which is when the state must start creating a framework and agency to implement the law.
Recreational marijuana will be legal to use after Dec. 7, but sales will not begin until later next year due to the licensing process.
Stage said the city’s administration would likely bring forth an ordinance that would require a $100 licensing fee for vendors, like those who sell tobacco products.
“We will be visiting this pretty aggressively,” said Stage.
The law also enables cities to decide whether to permit dispensaries in their communities.
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