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Marijuana legislation to come before council, planning commission

By LAURA FREEMAN Reporter Published: June 21, 2017 12:00 AM

HUDSON -- Council members will propose legislation June 20 to prevent the cultivation, processing and sale of marijuana in Hudson.

The proposed ordinance would have a first reading by city Council and then be referred to planning commission because the ordinance would require a change to the Land Development Code, said Council President Hal DeSaussure.

"We allow agriculture so we're restricting use," DeSasussure said.

The planning commission would schedule a public hearing on the ordinance and make recommendations to Council when it returns for follow-up readings. Council also would schedule a public hearing before a vote.

Because of the time it takes for legislation to be reviewed by the planning commission, Council, and public hearings, the moratorium passed in September 2016 and extended in February 2017, will need to be extended again.

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Council member Casey Weinstein is opposed to the ban on medical marijuana businesses in Hudson and shared his comments June 16 in an email to the Hudson Hub-Times.

"First and foremost, we are shutting our doors to high-end pharmaceutical-grade manufacturing businesses, which are poised to bring licensing fees, high paying jobs, millions in property investment, and critically needed taxes to schools and local governments, reducing the tax burden on residents," Weinstein said.

Weinstein said there are benefits to medical marijuana.

"Medical marijuana access is also a powerful new weapon in our fight against opioid abuse," he said. "Studies have repeatedly shown that, where medical marijuana is available as an alternative for treatment, opioid usage and overdoses decrease."

Additional revenue and tax dollars would benefit the community, he added.

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"Funding from tax revenues to governments can also be used to fight drug use in youth, with positive results in 29 states like Colorado," Weinstein said. "Finally, medical marijuana has been proven to alleviate suffering from a wide range of medical conditions, including cancer and Multiple Sclerosis, a debilitating and painful disease I've watched my mother fight since 1997," he added. "A landmark study released this year from the National Academy of Sciences confirmed again the medical value of marijuana.

I don't want big government standing in the way of the free market or telling doctors what's right for their patients."

City Solicitor Todd Hunt reviewed the state regulations regarding marijuana at the June 6 Council workshop and will draft legislation.

The state of Ohio legalized medical marijuana in September 2016 and the Medical Marijuana Control Program has published tentative rules with only the rules for cultivation finalized.

All the regulations have to be adopted by Sept. 8, 2017, and the Medical marijuana program must be fully operational by Sept. 8, 2018.

Regulations apply to cultivators, processors, dispensaries as well as physicians, caregivers and patients. In addition, testing facilities and the product have regulations they must meet, Hunt said.

Hudson Council can pass legislation that prohibits or limits the number of cultivators, processors or retail dispensaries in the city, he said.

Dispensaries must be 500 feet from any church, public school, public library, public park or public playground.

The city cannot pass legislation that limits research related to marijuana conducted at a state university, academic medical center or private research and development organization, Hunt said.

The city cannot prohibit the use of medical marijuana and patients cannot be criminally prosecuted.

Possible zoning restrictions include number of establishments, signage, security, guards, safes, camera, lighting, operations, use of premises and hours.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP


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