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Government & Politics

Cities in Ohio Seek Breathing Room Before Start of Medical Marijuana Businesses

photo of medical marijuana sign
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Access to medical marijuana for treating certain health conditions will soon be the law of the land in Ohio. 

But some cities are taking steps to slow any  rush to open dispensaries for the pot products.

Medical marijuana becomes legal in Ohio on September 8th, but three separate regulatory boards still need to hammer out rules for the growing, prescribing, and dispensing of the product.  That process is not required to be finished for another two years.

Still, a growing number of cities are proactively putting the brakes on setting up pot shops.

Lakewood has passed a six-month moratorium on medical marijuana businesses. Law director Kevin Butler says cities are feeling the need to create some breathing room.

“I think that’s the natural product of making something legal that had been illegal for so long. So caution is probably the rule here.”

Butler says the city decided to hit the ‘pause’ button after several people expressed interest in opening businesses.

“It really doesn’t have too much to do with what’s going to happen on September 8th when the state law goes into effect, it has more to do with the fact that we wanted to alert the public that we’re not going to be issuing permits in the meantime while we study the issue.  And that’s what the moratorium is for.”

Butler says Lakewood will likely lift the moratorium once new zoning and other rules are in place.

But one southwest Ohio city, Hamilton,  has banned outright sales of medical marijuana products, and Dover and New Philadelphia are likely to follow suit.