Medical marijuana: City sees no need to lift moratorium

CHRIS BOURNEA THISWEEKNEWS.COM @thisweeknews

Bexley City Council has opted to leave in place indefinitely a moratorium on the cultivation, processing or retail dispensing of medical marijuana within the city.

At their March 13 meeting, council members opted to take no action toward lifting the 18-month moratorium they adopted in October 2016. Councilman Tim Madison, chairman of council’s zoning, development and judiciary committee, said the 2016 ordinance required council to discuss whether or not to lift the moratorium before May 25, which is the official 18-month mark.

Lifting the moratorium would not make sense since House Bill 253, the statewide legislation that legalized medical marijuana in Ohio on Sept. 8, 2016, allows for only five dispensaries in Franklin County, Madison said.

“It’s really a moot issue, because none of the awarded locations for this were in Bexley, anyway,” he said. “I would say no action needs to be taken and (the moratorium) just stays in place.”

HB 253 established the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. The program will allow people with certain medical conditions, with a recommendation of an Ohio-licensed physician, to purchase and use medical marijuana. Medical marijuana dispensaries approved by the state are scheduled to open in September 2018.

Bexley City Council may want to reopen the discussion on the moratorium if the Ohio General Assembly approves recently introduced legislation that would trigger an audit of the process by which the medical marijuana dispensaries around the state were selected, City Attorney Marc Fishel said.

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