Medicinal marijuana a no-go in West Jefferson

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(Posted Nov. 10, 2017)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

It is now illegal to grow, process or sell marijuana for medicinal purposes in West Jefferson, following a council vote that prohibits its cultivation.

Council passed the emergency legislation on Nov. 6. The one and only reading was the first time the issue came before full council and came as a surprise to at least one member.

“I didn’t know anything about this until I got it in my packet,” Mike Conway said of the proposed ordinance included in information sent to council members a few days prior to the meeting.

“I heard there was talk about it, but that’s all there was, just talk,” said council member Doug Eakins.

“The idea had been kicking around for several months,” said council President Steve Johnston.

He also said the ordinance is patterned after legislation passed in Dublin, Canal Winchester and Worthington.

“Without such an ordinance, it’s ‘Come on down’,” Johnston said.

The legislation is a response to Substitute House Bill 523 that allows individuals to raise marijuana for medicinal purposes. A section of that bill allows municipalities to adopt restrictions.

West Jefferson’s ordinance prohibits the cultivation, processing and retail distribution of marijuana within the village limits. However, it does not prohibit research related to marijuana conducted at a state university, academic medical center, or private research and development organization as part of a research protocol approved by an institutional review board or equivalent entity.

Violation of the ordinance is a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

Despite the comments about the ordinance’s development, council members cast a 7-0 vote.

Public Hearing

Council members agreed with the village planning and zoning commission’s decision to create a zoning code of M-2 for property at 49 and 50 Burnham St. Buckeye Concrete had long occupied the property which had never been zoned. The M-2 classification is an industrial category to allow for equipment storage.

Employment

Council broke into an executive session late in the meeting to consider the appointment of a public employee or official. Upon returning 31 minutes later, council approved Mayor Ray Martin’s appointment of Rebecca Shipley-Arnott as finance director effective Dec. 1 upon the retirement of Debbie DiLeo.

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