MARION – City council voted down a temporary ban on marijuana dispensaries within city limits.
The decision was reached at a meeting on Monday night, after Councilwoman Leslie Cunningham, representing the 5th ward, proposed a ban that would make any applications from possible dispensary operators automatically null and void.
“I have been against this issue from day one,” Cunningham told the council. “What it comes down to is our city, what is the point of putting our police department through this if we cannot be told what the benefit is.”
Council members voted 5-4 against the ban, with some saying that it would not prevent a dispensary being placed near city limits since a neighboring township voted in favor of medical marijuana dispensaries last week.
Marion Township trustees unanimously passed a resolution not to restrict medical marijuana dispensaries inside the township.
“The only thing that creating a prohibition does in the city is eliminate our ability to regulate the industry to city standards,” said At-large Councilman Josh Daniels. “The only thing that we accomplish with this is to relinquish all control to something that is inevitable anyway.”
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy began accepting applications for dispensaries on Nov. 3, the next step in the two-year roll-out of the state’s medical marijuana program, which was passed by state legislators in 2016. The deadline to submit dispensary applications is Nov. 17.
Sixty dispensaries are on track to open next September across the state, serving patients who have a medical marijuana recommendation from a certified physician and who qualify with one of 21 medical conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, according to the state’s medical marijuana website.
City council members have been discussing whether to