OH: Findlay Council Doesn’t Rush Medical Marijuana Ban

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Findlay City Council narrowly voted against hurrying passage of a city-wide ban on medical marijuana dispensaries Tuesday.

The ban legislation, requested by Mayor Lydia Mihalik, received the first of three readings.

An attempt to hurry passage needed eight votes, but it only received seven. At-Large Councilman Grant Russel, 7th Ward Councilman Tim Watson and 5th Ward Councilman John Harrington voted against suspending council’s rules, which would have allowed the ordinance to proceed to a final vote Tuesday night.

“I feel like we’re rushing to ban,” Watson said. “I’d rather not act too quickly to completely ban it.”

Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 523, which legalized medical marijuana, into law in June. The law goes into effect Thursday, but gives communities an out by allowing them to limit the number of medical marijuana businesses or prohibit them altogether.

Russel said council should only rush legislation that is “business as usual,” not controversial ordinances such as the medical pot ban.

Harrington told council he could not support the ban because of an uncle who died of bone cancer. After going through chemotherapy, Harrington said, his uncle could have used something to “take the edge off.”

“At the local level, to try to circumvent the state is a mistake and for that I cannot support it,” Harrington said.
While 4th Ward Councilman Tom Klein voted to move forward with the ban Tuesday, he questioned the length of time the ban would be imposed. Findlay’s proposed ban would have been indefinite, while some other Ohio cities have implemented more temporary measures. Piqua, a little more than an hour south of Findlay, and Lakewood, two hours northeast, both put six-month moratoriums in place.

Klein called the Findlay ban a “knee-jerk reaction.”

When looking at a list of medical conditions for which marijuana can be used as a treatment, he spoke of the inconvenience that might arise if council passes the ban but never lifts it.

“I’ll probably get two or three of these” conditions, Klein said. “I don’t want to have to drive to Fostoria or Lima to get my medical marijuana.”

The Findlay legislation would prohibit the cultivation, processing and sale of medical marijuana in the city.
Mayor Mihalik had asked council to bypass its normal rules so the ban could take effect before medical marijuana becomes legal on Thursday in Ohio.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Findlay Council Doesn’t Rush Medical Marijuana Ban
Author: Staff
Contact: 419-422-5151
Photo Credit: Joe Randone
Website: The Courier