Ross Twp. is the latest Butler County jurisdiction to put a temporary ban on medical marijuana businesses while lawmakers work to establish the rules that will govern the new industry here.
Medical marijuana becomes legal in Ohio next week, making it the 26th state to legalize the drug.
The township trustees voted unanimously Thursday to place a six-month moratorium on the businesses that cultivate, process and sell medical marijuana.
“We need to know what the marijuana law is going to be before we go forward with it out in Ross,” Ross Twp. Trustee Ellen Yordy said. “There are the three components to that and whether or not we can do them individually or if they have to be all doable in your township. We just want to know where we’re going. You can’t make a decision on something without all the facts.”
The new state law, which takes effect Sept. 8, allows local jurisdictions to restrict these businesses, which has prompted several communities to put moratoriums, or temporary bans, in effect while they review details of the new law.
In Butler County, Liberty Twp. trustees have also placed a moratorium on medical marijuana businesses.
The rules will be rolled out in stages but won’t be fully implemented until September 2018.
Ross Twp. Trustee Tom Willsey said officials are neither “pro or con” on the issue of medical marijuana, they are just using an abundance of caution.
“The law hasn’t been written, the restrictions haven’t been put in place,” he told the Journal-News. “We don’t want to stop something that may be good for the community but we also don’t want something to happen that may be bad for the community. We want to understand more what’s going on and at this point there’s not a lot of information.”
Hamilton was the first community in the county to act on medical marijuana when it banned the sale of drug last February before the new law was passed.
Joshua Brown, communications director with the Ohio Municipal League, said they haven’t kept track of which cities and towns have instituted moratoriums, but said “my experience has been that the vast majority have done moratoriums.”
West Chester Twp. is the only jurisdiction that has taken a stand against a marijuana moratorium.
“We’re way to premature. It’s going to take two years for whoever is interpreting the law to even determine what the rules are, and I think until we see what those rules are, it’s going to be way to premature to do anything,” Trustee George Lang previously told the Journal-News. “Because we may be doing work the state’s already doing.”