Hamilton councilman argues city should allow medical pot

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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What to know about the legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Hamilton City Council on Wednesday updated its legislation that bans medical marijuana facilities, but one member suggested Hamilton eventually should allow the industry into the city.

Before the vote to approve the legislation, which synchronizes Hamilton’s ordinances with recent changes to state law about medical marijuana facilities, Council Member Matt Von Stein said he believes that if Hamilton eventually doesn’t allow such facilities, it will lose important revenues from such operations.

“I had initially wanted to vote no on this, but speaking with people on city council, and getting a better grasp on it, it’s not something I’m championing marijuana or anything, but until we get a full grasp on this concept and what it means, we’ve got to get a good gameplan together, because we’re missing out on a lot of money if we don’t get on this train,” Von Stein said.

“But we’ve got to plan well ahead before it comes here. I just want to state that in the future, this is something we cannot be ignoring, because there’s a lot of money in this. But it has to be done right.”

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Nobody else on council commented before Von Stein joined his colleagues in a 7-0 vote in favor of continuing the ban, with the language changes the city felt were necessary to keep city ordinances in line with alterations in Ohio laws.

The Ohio Cannabis Association, a trade association for medical-marijuana growers that also is teaching doctors in the state about the main-decreasing properties of various marijuana derivatives, has argued that local governments that ban medical marijuana may find themselves on the outside looking in.

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In early 2015, Hamilton banned medical marijuana in all the city’s zoning districts as a preventive measure. In September, state regulations were altered to allow local governments to adopt legislation prohibiting or limiting the numbers of cultivators, processors or retail dispensers. The wording changes harmonize city codes with the language and terms of state law.

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Under Hamilton’s ordinances, violation of the law will be a third-degree misdemeanor, with each day of violation being a separate offense. The legislation also allows the city to seek court injunctions to halt such operations.