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Published: Monday, April 02, 2018 @ 1:55 PM
Kettering city staff is recommending council make permanent a temporary ban on medical marijuana businesses in Montgomery County’s second largest city.
The temporary moratorium on cultivating, processing or dispensing marijuana in the city expires May 31. City council later this month will discuss whether to pass an ordinance banning the businesses, put restrictions on them, or take no action and let them operate under state law.
Kettering Mayor Don Patterson urges interested residents to see the city’s research on the issue on the city’s website and come to the April 24 council meeting to hear a presentation from staff. There will be a public comment portion of the meeting.
“This is an important issue and the decision we make now has the potential to impact our community well in to the future,” said Patterson.
A March 23 memo from city staff to council recommends enacting a ban on the businesses in the city. The primary reason given is that Ohio’s medical marijuana program is in conflict with federal law, which considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug.
“Possession and use of medical marijuana in compliance with state law would be allowed, and those individuals who desire to possess and use medical marijuana would be able to acquire it from nearby dispensaries in neighboring jurisdictions (e.g. Beavercreek and Dayton),” the memo says.
Most area cities have either temporary or permanent bans on medical marijuana, the memo says. Dayton, Beavercreek and Riverside are among those who permit it. Other cities that have passed bans include Oakwood, Huber Heights and Springboro.
Another option for city council is to restrict it. State law allows such businesses to operate in business-zoned areas more than 500 feet from a school, church, library, playground or park. They could increase this buffer to 1,000 feet, limiting the possible locations to include Town & Country, portions of South Dixie and Wilmington Pike.
Other restrictions could include hours of operation, requiring additional security or limiting the concentration of businesses.
“The current moratorium would need to be extended to allow for full consideration and approval of potential regulations,” the memo says.
But in addition to the federal law, city staff are concerned that cash-only dispensaries could attract robberies and other crime, and that police would have to respond to illegal re-sale and fraudulent sale of medical marijuana. They also worry about increased traffic, street dealing and the permeating smell of marijuana.
Thomas Rosenberger, director of the National Cannabis Industry Association of Ohio, said cities are within their rights to pass such a ban, “but I think they are a little misguided in doing so.”
He said areas around dispensaries often see a decrease in crime. These are medical offices that treat sick residents and support the community, he said.
“They’re going to be missing out on an increase in tax revenue that can be invested back in the community and jobs that are vital to the quality of life of their residents,” he said.