Hamilton medical marijuana ban may get update


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Hamilton leaders are considering updating their ban on medical marijuana facilities so city ordinances are better synced with state law.

Hamilton City Council in February of 2015 approved legislation that prohibited sales of medical marijuana in the city. More than a year later, in May of 2016, the Ohio General Assembly approved a bill allowing use of medical marijuana and established the medical-marijuana control program, which took effect Sept. 8.

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“Notably, that act permits the legislative authority of a municipal corporation to prohibit cultivators, processors or retail dispensaries within the municipal corporation,” Hamilton’s city attorney, Heather Lewis, recently told members of city council. “There is a narrow exception for research and testing facilities.”

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The legislation Hamilton approved before the state law was approved “is actually narrower than the one the state law permits cities to prohibit,” Lewis said, noting Hamilton can either revise its ordinance or enact a new one.

“And I would suggest that there may be some good argument in favor of putting that in a different section of our codified ordinances,” Lewis said.

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Hamilton’s ordinance does not conflict with state law, “but we could harmonize the language so that we’re using the same defined terms that the state law is using,” she said.

Also, “we could broaden our ordinance to also prohibit cultivators and processors,” she said. “As it stands right now, our zoning ordinance only prohibits the sale portion of the law,” Lewis said.

Vice Mayor Carla Fiehrer and other council members said they are interested in seeing the city draft such legislation.

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