Federal law leads New Albany to ban medical-marijuana businesses

SARAH SOLE THISWEEKNEWS.COM @ThisWeekSarah

Medical-marijuana businesses will not have a home in New Albany as long as cannabis is illegal under federal law, according to city leaders.

New Albany City Council on Nov. 28 voted 6-0 to become the latest central Ohio city to ban medical-marijuana businesses.

Mayor Sloan Spalding, President Pro Tempore Colleen Briscoe and Marlene Brisk, Mike Durik, Chip Fellows and Matt Shull voted in favor of the ordinance. Glyde Marsh was absent.

As a result of the ordinance, marijuana cultivation, processing and retail dispensing are prohibited in New Albany.

City attorney Mitch Banchefsky cited medical marijuana’s illegal standing under federal law as the reason New Albany moved forward with the ban.

Although medical marijuana now is legal in Ohio and the federal government isn’t enforcing laws banning it, nothing would prevent the federal government from doing so in the future, he said.

“It all comes back to the federal issue again,” he said.

Should the federal government change its laws regarding medical marijuana, New Albany would revisit its ban, Banchefsky said.

Grove City is another central Ohio municipality that has banned medical-marijuana businesses, and cities like Grandview Heights are weighing their options.

Meanwhile, Hilliard leaders recently approved a site policy for medical-marijuana businesses, and the village of Johnstown in August 2016 approved a resolution stating its “desire to not prohibit or limit legal medical-marijuana operations within its limits.”

If individuals interested in medical-marijuana businesses are eyeing New Albany, they have not contacted the New Albany Chamber of Commerce about it, said executive director Cherie Nelson.

She said she hasn’t heard from anyone interested in locating in the city.

However, New Albany council clerk Jennifer Mason said she has received calls from tracking groups, other cities and entrepreneurs who were interested in the status of New Albany’s medical-marijuana

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