Liberty Township, Ohio – As Ohios new medical marijuana program rolls out, communities across the state are staking steps to temporarily block or ban altogether pot-related businesses from opening.
A new law legalizing medical marijuana goes into effect Thursday, a move that some industry watchers say could pave the road to a more than $400 million industry in Ohio.
While the law allows local governments to restrict where marijuana-related businesses can be located or ban them entirely from operating, rules governing just how many businesses will be allowed to grow, process, test and sell the drug are months away from being written.
The uncertainty about whats coming is prompting a growing number of communities to take pause as they consider the potential impacts, said Blake Daniels, a spokesman for the Ohio Municipal League.
Local governments have really taken a big hit in recent years – and we hear a lot of chatter from communities that would rather delay these decisions than face some enormous, unforeseen problem, Daniels said.
Officials in Liberty Township on Tuesday approved a one-year ban that would keep any marijuana-related business from opening in the community of nearly 40,000.
This gives us time to look at our zoning code to see what makes sense and allows us more time to hear from residents and businesses on the issue, said Township Trustee Christine Matacic.
Colerain Township officials approved a similar temporary ban last month, joining several central Ohio communities with moratoriums in place including Beavercreek, Piqua and Troy.
Were not taking a hard position on this, said Colerain Township Trustee Michael Inderhees. Were certainly interested in any potential tax revenue that could come as a result of these new businesses, but we really want to hear from residents.