By Scott Piepho
Norton City Council began the process of prohibiting facilities that produce or dispense medical marijuana at the April 10 meeting.
In January, Council passed a four-month moratorium on zoning certificates for medical marijuana-related businesses. Since then, the issue has been under study by Council’s Planning Committee under Chair Joe Kernan (at large).
Council heard from Dan Karant, Norton’s representative on Summit County Public Health’s Board of Health. He said the federal government has classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has no medical value and a high potential for abuse. The classification also means the federal government could shut down any marijuana facilities even if permitted under state law, he said. Karant urged Council to exclude businesses related to medical marijuana from the city.
Ohio adopted a medical marijuana law last year and is currently formulating regulations to govern it. Karant said the Ohio Department of Commerce, the State Medical Board of Ohio and the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy are participating in formulating the regulations.
Later during the meeting, Council heard a first reading of an ordinance that would prohibit all cultivators, processors and retail dispensaries licensed under the medical marijuana law. A subsection in the law permits municipalities to prohibit or limit the number of facilities related to medical marijuana within a municipality. Council will take public input on the ordinance before members vote on it.
Council also heard first reading of an ordinance that would renew the city’s property and casualty insurance for one year with Wichert Insurance. According to Councilman Dennis Pierson (Ward 3), the renewal will need to be approved before the policy begins April 28.
According to city officials, the policy will cost about 4 percent more than last year because