Local governments dealing with concerns over Ohio’s soon-to-be legal medical marijuana

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio- Medical marijuana will soon be legal in the Buckeye State, but concerns over what that means at the local level have some cities now passing “moratoriums” and/or drawing up their own ordinances to control its sale and distribution.

Rocky River’s Director of Law Andrew Bemer introduced an ordinance that would set strict guidelines within city limits after failing to get detailed answers from the state.

“My calls to Columbus indicated that they’re not sure when those rules would come into effect,” said Dir. Bemer. “The purpose of this ordinance is to provide some local authority over the retail dispensing cultivation and processing of medical marijuana.”

Bemer also emphasized that the proposed ordinance is not designed to circumvent the system or deny anyone the legal right to use medical marijuana, and city leaders could revisit it at a later date.

But some say these types of actions are unnecessary.

House BILL 523 may have been signed into law on June 9, 2016 by Gov. John Kasich and “legally” take effect 90 days later on Sept. 8th, but that does not mean that medical marijuana will immediately begin being sold everywhere, by just anyone.

In fact, Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws says, the rollout will take several years and is an extremely regulated and detailed process.

“These are going to be highly regulated facilities licensed by the state and will be at least 2 to 3 years before these facilities are up and running,” said Armentano. “And the law is written in such a way that the only legal distributors are those entities that apply to the state for a license and receive a license.”