West Chester to debate medical pot regulations

West Chester Twp. could be the latest of a growing number of Butler County communities to put restrictions on the new medical marijuana businesses the state has sanctioned.
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West Chester Twp. could be the latest of a growing number of Butler County communities to put restrictions on the new medical marijuana businesses the state has sanctioned.

West Chester Twp. could be the latest of a growing number of Butler County communities to put restrictions on the new medical marijuana businesses the state has sanctioned.

The trustees plan to debate the issue tonight at their regular meeting.

Trustee George Lang remains steadfast in his belief any action at this time is premature since the state has not yet released all the rules governing the cultivation, testing and dispensing of the drug. Those are due in September.

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“I still feel the same way,” Lang said. “We’re waiting to see what the state’s ultimate rules are going to be. I think we’ve got somewhat of what they are going to be in terms of cultivation but not in terms of sales. I think we’d be premature in doing anything until we see what the state’s going to do.”

On the other hand, Board President Mark Welch said they learned their lesson about waiting too long to act with Dr. Mohamed Aziz. The rehab doctor sued the township after it put a moratorium on facilities such as his. He had purchased the old nursing home on Ohio 42 and claimed the township was violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by preventing him from using his property to help sick people.

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The trustees ended up settling the case and Aziz is in the process of renovating the site.

Welch said he hasn’t really made up his mind about the pot issue but said it doesn’t appear to comport with the township’s core values.

“West Chester is a very conservative, family friendly community and I think we have a very high moral code,” he said. “These family values dictate many of the things the township acts on.”

Hamilton, Middletown and Fairfield have banned the sale of the drug and Liberty, Fairfield and Ross townships have placed moratoriums on the industry as they see how the rules roll out.

RELATED: More communities ban medical pot

The cultivation rules came out earlier this month. The state is still working on how many dispensaries and testing laboratories will be allowed, there will be 24 cultivator licenses — 12 large and a dozen smaller operations — to begin with, but Bryan Behrmann, director of planning and zoning in Liberty Twp. said that number could grow.

The law doesn’t permit smoking pot but permits vaporizers, patches, edibles and oils and the program will be implemented in September 2018.

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