Although Plain City’s leaders remain split on the issue, the village took its first step toward banning medical marijuana during Monday’s council meeting.
Council members approved a first reading on an ordinance to ban the sale, processing and growth of the controversial treatment. Members John Rucker, Colleen Davis and Kerri Ferguson voted in favor of the ban, while members Nick Kennedy, Jim Moore and Leslie Perkins voted against the ban.
Mayor Darrin Lane cast a rare tie-breaking vote in support of the ban.
Prior to voting on the ordinance, council members were asked to approve a temporary ban to allow time for the official ordinance to be prepared and approved. The typical process usually takes six weeks.
A motion to pass the moratorium as an emergency, suspending the three-reading rule, failed after it was voted down by Moore and Perkins. Emergencies can only be passed with a super majority vote.
Perkins flashed a thumbs up following the vote. She has said medical marijuana is a necessary means of treatment for many ailments.
Kennedy said more information is needed regarding economic impact, and until those figures are presented, others are making an “uneducated vote, unless it’s purely for moral reasons.”
“We don’t know what we’re giving up,” he said, referencing potential tax benefits. “Is it $10, $10 million?”
Lane argued there was little for Plain City to gain because any sales tax generated by a dispensary would benefit the county.
State lawmakers passed a bill last May to legalize medical marijuana for those with a doctor’s referral. Twenty-one health conditions are eligible for the referral, including cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy has recommended that 40 dispensaries be scattered around the state to sell medical marijuana to qualifying patients. That number is far fewer than the 1,150 dispensaries proposed in a medical marijuana ballot issue defeated by Ohio voters in 2015.
Ohioans for Medical Marijuana estimate there will be 188,000 medical marijuana patients in Ohio — which comes out to about 4,700 patients per dispensary.
Andrea Chaffin can be reached at 740-852-1616 or on Twitter @Andee_Writes.