HUDSON, Ohio – Hudson city officials admitted surprise when they learned that investors who approached them about building in an industrial park lot intend to use the property to grow medical marijuana.
"We had met with a group of investors about a month or so ago looking for some light industrial manufacturing facility looking to build, but at that point no name was disclosed as to who the people were that were actually going to build," said Hudson Communications Manager Jody Roberts.
The location, in the Hudson Crossing Parkway on Route 303, is among ten sites across Ohio where Responsible Ohio plans to grow medical marijuana if it is legalized by Ohio voters.
Other sites include locations in Lorain and Alliance.
The City of Hudson said it only learned very recently about the site's intended use and the identity of the group behind the proposal. "We have no real details. Anything to do with this is premature because obviously the product is illegal at this point and we don't have any details of what they intend to build other than the location," said Roberts.
The site is across the street from the Christ Community Chapel, a large and very active church in the community. Associate Pastor Tim Schofield told Fox 8 News he was not even aware of the proposed site before our call and would reach out to the church's leadership for any response.
But the location does bother some people who live, work and visit in Hudson.
"I love Christ Community Chapel and I'm just opposed to it," said Valerie Rovelski of Stow.
"A lot of good things go on at Christ Community Chapel and I don't think having that across the street, I wouldn't like it," added Rovelski.
"It's a very nice community. It's not much for agriculture per se, so I'm sure they could find another location to do that," said Rasheed Williams of Hudson.
Others believe if medical marijuana is legalized and they have to grow it somewhere then Hudson should be able to cash in. "If it's already mandated in the state that there's going to be ten spots, if it's legal and regulated then Hudson might as well be one of those spots," said Anooj Pakpakvasa of Akron, who grew up in Hudson.
The city said so many things have to happen before marijuana is even legal in Ohio that it is just too premature to discuss any plans for the site.
Among the things that need to happen is that Responsible Ohio needs to gather more than 300,000 signatures to get the question in front of voters. A petition drive took place in Cleveland and Columbus Tuesday night, with more planned.
Roberts said the city will have to wait to see what happens with the proposal before it can make any official decisions. "If it becomes legal product then it becomes a business, then we would have to learn exactly what their operations are to see if it fits with our zoning," said Roberts.