OH: Cleveland City Council Proposes Moratorium On Issuing Medical Marijuana Licenses


Cleveland, Ohio – Days after Ohio’s new medical marijuana law took effect, Cleveland City Council introduced legislation that would impose a 1-year moratorium on issuing permits or licenses to grow, process or sell medicinal weed in the city.

The city ordinance was introduced at Monday night’s council meeting and says that council needs more time to figure out how to handle licensing and how such operations would affect the city’s overall land use plans and public safety.

The piece has been referred to council committees, the finance department and the City Planning Commission for review.

Here are answers to a few of the questions you might have about the proposed ordinance and how soon Cleveland could become home to medical marijuana growers or vendors:

Q: What gives Cleveland the authority to put off enforcing a state law?

A: The state’s new law, which took effect Sept. 8, authorizes municipalities to limit the number of marijuana cultivators, processors or retailers within the city borders or to prohibit the industry from taking root in the city altogether.

Council President Kevin Kelley said in an interview Wednesday that the provision means cities have the power to take their time in coming up with a plan for issuing licenses. Lakewood, Rocky River and a number of other Ohio cities already have issued or proposed similar temporary bans.

Also, the state has some groundwork to do, too, before its medical marijuana program can be fully operational – and that might take up to two years. The state law leaves many of the details of the program up to the Ohio Department of Commerce, State Pharmacy Board, State Medical Board and a yet to be appointed bipartisan advisory committee.

That coordination and regulations on the industry might not be complete for another year – which buys time for Cleveland to come up with its guidelines for issuing licenses, Kelley says.

Q: Why didn’t Cleveland start thinking about implementation sooner – in the interim between Gov. John Kasich’s signing of the bill in June and its effective date?

A: Kelley said city officials have been discussing implementation, but need more time to “take a step back and learn more before someone flies into town and starts requesting permits.

“Most people were expecting this to be a ballot issue and to happen much later,” Kelley said. “We’re basically dealing with a law that has few defining parameters. … So as opposed to the city of Cleveland hurrying up and making the rules about this, we figured it was prudent to take time and let it develop on the state level.”

Q: Does Kelley see medical marijuana as an industry that could potentially benefit Cleveland from an economic development standpoint?

A: Kelley said the industry could have value for Cleveland, but he doesn’t see it as the city’s saving grace.

“I’m open to the idea, but I’m certainly not holding my breath,” Kelley said. “It might provide some economic development, but it won’t be significant. It’s so undeveloped right now that we don’t know what the effect would be. And with the possibility of people coming to Cleveland to get marijuana for the wrong reasons, that would be a big gamble right now to try to corner the market and be the most permissive with our licensing.”

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Cleveland City Council Proposes Moratorium On Issuing Medical Marijuana Licenses
Author: Leila Atassi
Contact: Cleveland.com
Photo Credit: Jackie Borchardt
Website: Cleveland.com