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Middletown imposes temporary ban on medical marijuana facilities

Published: Thursday, September 08, 2016 @ 10:53 AM
Updated: Thursday, September 08, 2016 @ 10:57 AM
By: Mike Rutledge - Staff Writer

The city council in Middletown this week added that city to the list of Butler County governments that have placed moratoriums on establishment of medical-marijuana facilities within their boundaries.

The council voted 5-0 to create a six-month ban on permits allowing retail dispensaries, cultivators or processors of medical marijuana within city limits. The resolution was an emergency measure so it would be implemented before the state law took effect today.

City Manager Doug Adkins before the vote explained the rationale for the moratorium: “There’s almost no guidance from the state currently on rules for prescribing physicians, potential licenses or how the distribution of medical marijuana should work, because the state regulatory agencies have not established any rules or guidance to move forward at this point. It is difficult for us to suggest a path of the proper route going forward for Middletown.”

Adkins noted the issue affects many city departments, and, “the six-month moratorium would allow staff to address concerns and be able to recommend the next step to council in a reasonable manner.”

He added: “Our hope is that over that six-month period the state will lay out some guidelines as to how they expect this will work. And at that point, we’ll be able to give you some good advice as to how we should handle this in Middletown. Hamilton has already banned, completely, all of medical marijuana dispensaries…. Other communities are taking a more cautious approach. We’re recommending the moratorium at this time.”

Hamilton City Council voted 5-1 last year to essentially ban the sale of medical marijuana through its zoning codes, something one attorney said could cause a legal issue because it now is legal in the state to prescribe medical marijuana.

Adkins noted the city is working on a rewrite of its zoning code and this can be incorporated into that.

Liberty Twp. after months of discussion on Tuesday approved a one-year moratorium on medical-marijuana businesses, and Ross Twp. last week also implemented a one-year ban.

West Chester Twp. is the only local jurisdiction that has taken a stand against a marijuana moratorium.