PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) — City leaders in Portsmouth have voted to set rules allowing where a medical marijuana dispensary can and cannot set up shop. The city could have voted to prohibit it from the city entirely.
The Market Street Cafe was bustling around the lunch hour Tuesday.
Karen Patrick and Pat Moore are regulars. They hadn’t heard about the city council’s vote to set rules for a potential dispensary in the future.
But now that they know, “I just don’t think it’s good for the growth of Portsmouth in any way,” said Patrick.
“I just don’t think we need more drugs. I think we need less drugs in our area,” Moore added.
While they see the benefits of medical marijuana for cancer patients and people who need it for health reasons, they’re afraid too many will take advantage of it.
“We need more facilities to help them with their problem,” Patrick said. “That’s what we need. We don’t need to dispense it. We need to stop it.”
At the next table over, Andy Glockner also didn’t know about the vote. He’s worried, believing dispensaries will be a slippery slope to legalization of marijuana, seeing parallels with other drug issues.
“We closed down the pill mills and the heroin came in, took its place. It’s cheaper, more dangerous, more addictive,” he said.
Police Chief Robert Ware agrees. He believes the social costs of medical marijuana and dispensaries aren’t being fully weighed, in terms of exposing youth to the drug and possibly bringing impaired drivers into town.
“We have enough problems trying to enforce the drug laws,” Ware said. “I don’t want to add another to the mix.”
Portsmouth Mayor Jim Kalb wasn’t available for an interview Tuesday, but did release this statement:
“I support having a