By Lori Smith
The cultivation, processing and retail distribution of medical marijuana will not occur in the city of Pickerington, after Pickerington City Council voted 4-2 June 19 to prohibit it.
Council President Jeff Fix said local law enforcement recommended the prohibition, due to the nature of it being a cash-only business with an in-demand product.
“Our police force has made it clear to us that all-cash businesses are sitting ducks,” he said.
Council Vice President Mike Sabatino, noted, “The reason that it has to be a cash business is because of the federal government. The police department has been very vocal about having that as an enticement. People can still use medical marijuana, just not sell it or grow it here.”
Prior to voting against the legislation, Councilman Tony Barletta commented that research has shown medical marijuana is a safe alternative to opioids and is beneficial for many diseases.
“I understand the concern about it needing to be a cash business,” he said, and added the state and federal government should reconsider that requirement.
The legislation passed 4-2, with Barletta and Councilman Tom Romine casting the dissenting votes.
•Pickerington resident Curtis Stewart came to council with concerns about flooding in the Willow Run area. He said he has been a resident of the Manor House Estates since 1989, and ever since the construction of the Lake’s Edge apartments there have been drainage issues in the area. With increasing development, he said, the problem is getting even worse.
“The last couple of years we have noticed things have changed,” he said, alleging that he thinks the retention pond at Lake’s Edge has been filled in. “They took care of their problem and they created a great big problem for us. It’s going to ruin the value of our homes, if it hasn’t already.”
Fix referred the matter to the Service Committee, and said, “I certainly thank you for bringing it to council’s attention.”
•Council also discussed legislation regarding small cell facilities and wireless structures.
“While I understand the state government has the authority to force things like this on a municipality like us, I thought it was worth a review,” Fix said. “It’s something we have to pass, but I thought it was worth discussion.”
Law Director Phil Hartmann said the state set the framework to guide cities in regard to small cell facilities or wireless structures, otherwise the companies can put them wherever they want.
“What you are setting up is the framework to allow the city to regulate the small cell industry,” Hartmann said. “Now at least you have the ability to regulate to some degree where they are and what they look like.”
Councilman Jerry Dailey said, “I think this is typical bad legislation. The Ohio Municipal League told the legislature they didn’t like this.”
He said there are already so many stipulations, “I wish they had the guts to do away with stuff like this and keep the right of way here.”
The matter was referred to the Service Committee for further discussion.
Pickerington City Council will not meet on July 3 due to the Fourth of July holiday