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City considers options for marijuana facilities

By LAURA FREEMAN Reporter Published: June 14, 2017 12:00 AM

HUDSON -- City Council was scheduled to review its moratorium on marijuana facilities at its June 13 Council workshop meeting at Town Hall.

After the new law on medical marijuana in Ohio went into effect in September 2016, Hudson Council approved a moratorium on applications on granting zoning certificates for any building, structure, use or change which would enable the cultivation, processing, distribution or sale of medical marijuana. Council extended that moratorium in February for six more months. When the mortorium expires, the city could decide to extend it again or allow marijuana facilities in the city, said City Solicitor Todd Hunt at the June 6 Council meeting. (The June 13 meeting was scheduled after our paper's press time.)

The rules of how the marijuana law would work were not in place when the state law was passed, said Council member Alex Kelemen in February.

"As far as manufacturing is concerned, it seems to me that because of the timing of permits and lead time to build, a six-month moratorium is tantamount to saying we don't want the facility," Kelemen said.

Kelemen reminded Council members that in 2015 a state ballot issue would have legalized marijuana both medically and recreationally, and one of the proposed growing facilities was in Hudson. The issue failed in Hudson 76 to 24 percent.

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"Until the state puts in order exactly how this is going to look and feel, I'm in favor of a moratorium," Council President Hal DeSaussure said earlier this year. "It makes sense to me to see how things are going to shake out in Columbus."

The vote to enact the moratorium in February was 5 to 1, with Council member Casey Weinstein voting against.

"This is happening in our state," Weinstein said in February. "Nationwide medical marijuana is here or coming, and it's not destroying communities."

A marijuana business is not asking for any tax abatements and brings revenue to communities, Weinstein added.

"I think it's ridiculous that we're not accepting applications for this in the city," Weinstein said in February. "I'm not going to sit around quietly and let us put this off or kill this industry in Hudson."

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Hunt reviewed the tentative rules published by the Medical Marijuana Control Program.

Qualified doctors can make a recommendation, rather than prescription for Marijuana, for the following diagnosis acquired immune deficiency syndrome; alzheimer's disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; cancer; chronic traumatic encephalopathy; Crohn's disease; epilepsy or another seizure disorder; fibromyalgia; glaucoma; hepatitis C; inflammatory bowel disease; multiple sclerosis; pain that is chronic severe or intractable; Parkinson's disease, positive status for HIV; and post-traumatic stress disorder, Hunt said.

Patients can use the marijuana in tinctures, edibles, patches, oils and vaporization. Plant material can be sold but smoking marijuana is not permitted, he said.

The medical marijuana program must be fully operational by Sept. 8, 2018. The Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee is charged with proposing and adopting regulation, Hunt said.

The Medical Marijuana Control Program has published tentative rules but only rules for cultivators have been finalized. Applications are available at www.medicalmarijuan.ohio.gov and due in June.

All other regulations must be adopted by Sept. 8, 2017, he said.

Cultivators have two levels with Level I allowing an initial operation up to 25,000 square feet of designated marijuana cultivation space, Hunt said. The application fee is $20,000. The provisional license is an additional $180,000 with an annual renewal fee of $200,000.

The Level II cultivator may operate up to 3,000 square feet of designated marijuana cultivation space, he said. The application fee is $2,000. The provisional license is an additional $18,000 with an annual renewal fee of $20,000.

Tentative regulations are available for processors, but territories have yet to be determined, he said.

Application fee is $10,000. The provisional license is an additional $90,000 with a $100,000 annual fee.

Dispensary regulations are tentative as well, Hunt said. The rules are written by the Board of Pharmacy and each dispensary must have a Clinical Director who is a licensed pharmacist or licensed prescriber.

The facility must begin operation within 180 days of receipt of provisional license. The $80,000 licensing fee is due every two years and a $50,000 surety bond is required. All employees must be licensed with the Board of Pharmacy.

Dispensaries must be at least 500 feet from any church, public school, public library, public park or public playground and follow zoning rules, he said.

Tentative regulations also apply to physicians, patients, caregivers, packaging and testing facilities, Hunt said.

Municipalities can pass legislation prohibiting or limiting the number of cultivators, processors or retail dispensaries in the municipality, he said.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP

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