OH: Liberty Township Temporarily Bans Medical Marijuana

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Liberty Twp. – Liberty Twp. trustees say they don’t want to be “sitting ducks” or “blindsided” by medical marijuana growers and sellers who may have set their sights on setting up shop in the township, so they issued a moratorium.

The township trustees have been talking about this issue for a couple months and authorized their staff to prepare a one-year moratorium Tuesday that they will enact at their next meeting.

“We need to do something now, we don’t want to be sitting ducks…,” Trustee Christine Matacic said. “We need to take the steps now so that we don’t get caught blindsided, where somebody says ‘hey they’re not doing anything, let’s go in there and get something established that we can apply to get our licensing for’.”

The trustees could have either issued the moratorium or outright banned marijuana in their zoning code, which would take three or four months.

Trustee Steve Schramm has said he doesn’t want to completely shun the new types of businesses, but they need more information from the state before they can take any measures.

“I’ve been for a moratorium all along, until we have enough information to make up a truly informed decision,” he said. “I think it would almost be a knee jerk reaction and fear of the unknown to change the code at this point.”

After a failed attempt at legalizing marijuana both for recreational and medical use, the state legislature and Gov. John Kasich signed into law a measure that will allow it only for medicinal purposes. Rules for the program are still being developed and won’t be fully implemented until September 2018.

Middletown was on the radar when the legalization movement was on at the state level a year ago. City officials there were taken by surprise when ResponsibleOhio – the group backing the constitutional amendment – announced that Middletown would be one of 10 sites across Ohio for proposed indoor marijuana growing facilities.

City Manager Doug Adkins said they are in the midst studying the new marijuana laws so it is premature to discuss any possible bans or moratoriums.

The city of Hamilton banned medical marijuana last year, primarily as a preemptive strike when the legalization movement was on. Several other jurisdictions are also studying the issue. Monroe’s planning commission discussed the topic Tuesday night and Ross Twp. has the issue on its agenda for Thursday. Fairfield Twp. will scrutinize marijuana laws soon, as they go through a zoning code overhaul, according to Township Administrator Julie Vonderhaar.

“The Board will have the opportunity to discuss this issue and take proactive steps for the future of Fairfield Twp.,” she said. “This is the case not only regarding the use of medical marijuana, but also for any and all issues that may affect township residents.”

West Chester Twp. trustees discussed and dismissed the issue several weeks ago.

“We’re way to premature. It’s going to take two years for whoever is interpreting the law to even determine what the rules are, and I think until we see what those rules are, it’s going to be way to premature to do anything,” Trustee George Lang said. “Because we may be doing work the state’s already doing.”

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Liberty Twp. Temporarily Bans Medical Marijuana
Author: Denise G. Callahan
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