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Medina committee extends marijuana moratorium

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MEDINA — City Council’s Finance Committee voted 4-3 Monday night to bar the cultivation of medical marijuana in the city for a year.

Council President John Coyne, Ward 2 Councilman Dennie Simpson and Ward 3 Councilman Mark Kolesar voted against the measure.

Council is expected to approve the ordinance May 22.

In October, Council approved a six-month moratorium on cultivating marijuana and planned to revisit it this year.

In June, Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 523. The law makes it legal for doctors to recommend medical marijuana use for patients with various medical conditions. The law also allows cities to limit where medical marijuana businesses can locate and to prohibit them completely.

City Law Director Greg Huber spoke before the committee’s vote about the issue, saying until the state government takes a stand on medical marijuana, the city should wait.

“As an attorney and prosecutor, I’m sworn to uphold the law in the U.S.,” he said. “The states are doing what they want to do and not addressing it.

“As a prosecutor, I can tell you, I don’t have a high view of recreational marijuana. It causes impairment. You get to point of having a dim view of recreational marijuana.”

Huber said marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifications.

“In my talks with Mayor (Dennis) Hanwell, until the federal government provides some direction on this, I feel bound to uphold the law and view marijuana as an illegal drug,” Huber said.

Potential businesses are calling the city inquiring about cultivating medical marijuana in Medina. Coyne said the state charges a $250,000 fee to companies that will cultivate the drug.

“They are knocking on doors to see who will let them in,” Medina Economic Development Director Kimberly Marshall said.

The state will allow a limited number of marijuana cultivators. Marshall said the permits must be submitted by June.

Simpson said he’s seen a number of chemotherapy patients use medical marijuana for nausea and appetite enhancement.

Coyne said people won’t be going into these facilities and “buying weed.”

“There’s no smoking,” he said. “It’s oils.”

Patients won’t be able to get the medical marijuana without a prescription.

“This is an unsettled issue,” At-large Councilman Bill Lamb said. “There is a conundrum here.

“We are a family-friendly community. We are working to maintain that image. Whether that will hurt it, I don’t know.

“We’ll have to see how this plays out with the federal government.”

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.



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