KEVIN CORVO THISWEEKNEWS.COM @ThisWeekCorvo
Hilliard leaders say Ohio laws regulating the cultivation, processing and retail sale of medical marijuana will suffice for the city.
A six-month moratorium Hilliard City Council placed on medical-marijuana cultivation sites, processing facilities and retail dispensaries expired Nov. 22.
Rather than extend the moratorium, City Council on Nov. 20 voted 5-0 – with Nathan Painter absent and Joe Erb abstaining – to establish a policy for the location of such sites.
Councilman Bill Uttley said “significant hurdles” exist at the state level to secure medical-marijuana licenses and marijuana has “proven medical benefits.”
“I don’t see a need to (further) restrict it,” he said.
Hilliard’s legislation limits medical-marijuana dispensaries to the B-2 and B-4 commercial zoning districts; locations must be at least 500 feet from any school, church, private residence or public playground, park or library.
Most of the available areas for a dispensary are north of Cemetery Road, between Lyman Drive and Interstate 270, city officials said.
Cultivating and processing would be permissible in rural residential zoning districts and M-1 and M-2 industrial districts with the same 500-foot restriction.
Opportunities for cultivating are possible in the western fringes of the city, though the locations of schools and residences would limit sites, Hilliard city planner John Talentino said.
A medical-marijuana operation could continue as a nonconforming use if started before any residences or other disqualifying structures later were built within 500 feet, he said.
But in order to set up operations in Hilliard, such businesses first would have to meet several benchmarks at the state level, including how many even are permitted to dispense marijuana in certain regions.
“There are stringent state laws before (license holders) even come to us for a conditional-use permit,” Talentino said. “There are a lot of hoops to jump through (at the state level).”