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Belpre unwilling to entertain recreational cannabis commerce

BELPRE — Belpre City Council took action Monday to restrict potential cannabis-related businesses within the city.

For several weeks, council has heard from the public on discussions regarding recreational marijuana and its potential availability in Belpre.

Last November, Ohio voters approved allowing the purchase and use of marijuana for recreational purposes under the state Constitution. Medical use has been permitted for several years.

Belpre officials have been considering action regarding the possibility of dispensaries wanting to operate within city limits and heard both opposition and support, with the opponents being the greater number to come forward.

During Monday’s meeting, council voted 5-1 on all three readings of an ordinance prohibiting adult use cannabis processing dispensing, laboratories, cultivation areas and cultivation facilities.

At-large Councilman Nate Godfrey was the only dissenting vote. At a June 24 committee meeting, he said he was personally against a ban due to uncertainties remaining in how the state of Ohio will address various issues related to the legalization. Godfrey said he would support possible restrictions on locations, for example near schools and such, but not a total ban based on the decision of Ohio’s voters last year.

In her mayor’s report, Mayor Susan Abdella said the mandated survey of lead service lines is not doing very well with getting the surveys completed. She urged council members to work within their wards to help get the surveys completed. A strategy session could be held soon on how to accomplish this task prior to Sept 1, Abdella said.

The next regular council meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. July 22. The Parks and Recreation Committee will meet at 6 p.m. July 22, followed by the Planning and Zoning Committee at 7 p.m. Prior to that, the Rules Committee will meet at 5 p.m. July 15.

Wayne Towner can be reached at wtowner@newsandsentinel.com

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