Liberty trustees say no to medical-marijuana businesses


Published: Tue, June 13, 2017 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Sarah Lehr

slehr@vindy.com

LIBERTY

Trustees voted unanimously Monday afternoon to ban medical-marijuana businesses from the township.

Medical marijuana became legal statewide in 2016, though the regulatory and distribution program is not required to be fully operational until September 2018.

Ohio’s law allows municipalities and townships to ban or limit the number of medical-marijuana operations within their jurisdictions, though there is an exemption for facilities conducting research into the drug.

Liberty’s prohibition on medical-marijuana businesses mirrors legislation adopted in Canfield, Poland and Austintown. The bans do not forbid people from using medical marijuana in those communities if it is legally obtained elsewhere, however.

Conversely, officials in Campbell, Lowellville and Youngstown are hoping to recruit medical-marijuana businesses.

Those officials cite potential benefits, including jobs and tax revenue. It is not certain whether any of those areas will actually get medical-marijuana companies, however.

Businesses are awaiting licenses from the state to grow, process or sell marijuana, and the licensing process is competitive.

Liberty Law Director Mark Finamore suggested the trustees could potentially revise their ban at a later date after observing the effects of medical-marijuana operations in other communities.

Police Chief Rich Tisone, after being asked for an opinion from trustees, said he opposed medical-marijuana businesses in the township from a law-enforcement perspective.

“We don’t need that type of business in our community,” Tisone said, drawing a comparison to casinos. “People are going to jump on it. They’re going to go in there and make their money, and at some point, there’s going to be a problem, and they’re going to get out.”


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