Bill would lift medical marijuana ban

Legislation coming before Marietta City Council next week

Marietta City Council plans to introduce legislation lifting the moratorium on medical marijuana next week following a Planning, Zoning and Annexation Committee meeting Thursday.

The moratorium was passed in September last year with the intention of giving the state time to finalize rules and regulations for medical marijuana, which was legalized in Ohio that month by House Bill 523, before the city would consider allowing growing, processing or dispensing operations within city limits.

Now that state regulations are finalized council looks to have its first reading repealing the moratorium next Thursday and hold two special council meetings Oct. 24 and 26 at 5 p.m. to have a final decision. Those will come just before the Nov. 1 state deadline for those businesses that may be interested in locating a dispensary in Marietta to then apply to the state between Nov. 2 and Nov. 15.

“I’m for medical marijuana, especially for cancer patients, and it’s going to be regulated by the state so I’m all for this,” said Councilwoman Kathy Downer, D-at large.

Chairwoman Sarah Snow, R-at large, also said she would be in favor of lifting the moratorium pending any objection from the police and fire chiefs who were not present at Thursday’s meeting but whom she planned to call for input.

“It’s going to happen in Ohio. Why leave us behind?” added Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th ward.

Council’s Employee Relations Committee also discussed a recommendation to remove a clerk position from the payroll of the city and add an assistant fire chief position to usurp those duties and provide more leadership in the city’s fire department.

The committee will reconvene on the issue Wednesday to discuss the issue further following an audit committee meeting at 4:15 p.m.

All Marietta City Council committee, regular and special meetings are held in room 10 of the Armory, 241 Front St.

What’s next

≤ Marietta City Council will hold the first of three readings of legislation to repeal the medical marijuana moratorium Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m.

≤ Then on Oct. 24 and 26 at 5 p.m. council will hold the second and third readings of the legislation to give time for the public to make comments.

Source: Times research.