By Andrea Cordle
In November of 2016, the city of Grove City enacted a one-year moratorium on marijuana. That freeze will expire on Nov. 6, but city leaders have a plan to replace it.
At the Oct. 2 meeting, Grove City Council approved a measure to prohibit the cultivation, processing and retail distribution of medical marijuana within city limits. The legislation passed with a 4-1 vote.
Last year, Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 523 into law, which allows individuals with a qualifying medical condition to obtain and use medical marijuana with approval from a physician and an application to the state. However, the bill allowed municipalities to adopt restrictions including prohibiting cultivators, processors or retail outlets who sell medical marijuana.
Councilman Steven Robinette clarified that this legislation only stops the distribution and retail sale of medical marijuana; it does not stop anyone from using medical marijuana if it has been legally obtained and prescribed by a physician.
The sole vote against the legislation came from councilman Jeff Davis. He voted against the measure out of empathy for those suffering from chronic pain.
“The way the world is going, this is not just a fad,” said Davis. “Medical marijuana might be a better choice for those in chronic pain than self-medicating. If someone needs medical marijuana and does not want to travel out of Grove City to get it, they should not have to.”
Councilman Ted Berry also said he was sympathetic to those suffering from chronic pain and other conditions, but said now there are too many unknowns at the state level.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said for safety and public health reasons, he does not want medical marijuana cultivated in the area.“This is not the day to embrace distribution in Grove City,” said Stage.
Berry suggested that council members revisit the issue in another year after the state has had time to review its guidelines.
According to city leaders, there has been interest in the cultivation and retail sale of medical marijuana in the city. Five grow operations are planned in Franklin County.
Other local municipalities have already passed legislation prohibiting medical marijuana grow operations including the village of Urbancrest and Pleasant Township. Jackson Township is also reviewing similar legislation.