The state approved earlier this month two provisional medical marijuana dispensary licenses for Butler County, but the tiny village of Seven Mile has issued an emergency, temporary ban, preventing the new business from locating there.
Seven Mile Mayor Vivian Gorsuch told the Journal-News she doesn’t agree with the nine-month moratorium that passed 5-0 on Monday, but she only has the opportunity to vote if there is a tie on council. She said she has done her own research — the company known as 127 OH LLC has met with council previously — and believes it will be a good addition to the village of 780 residents.
“I don’t agree with what they did,” she told the Journal-News. “It was their choice to put a moratorium on because they wanted to work on some more rules and regulations.”
When the license award was announced earlier this month Gorsuch told the Journal-News the company is planning to build a secure facility that is estimated to cost nearly $2 million on the south end of the village off of U.S. 127.
Gorsuch said the village previously had a 60-day moratorium they let lapse in February. The village’s attorney, Kyle Rapier, did not return calls seeking comment, but Gorsuch said he told council they were within their rights to place the temporary ban.
Seven Mile resident Anne Jantzen said she was relieved the village agreed to dig deeper.
“We are a very small community and don’t have the resources a larger municipality might have such as a city manager, a zoning department, and a paid fire and police force,” she said. “Council needs more time to do research and to assess the costs and benefits to Seven Mile and its citizens before a thoughtful decision can be made on the medical marijuana dispensary.”
Tim Mara, a local attorney who usually represents clients who have zoning and other disputes with their governments, said as long as the state hasn’t expressly prohibited local jurisdictions from banning these establishments — the majority of Butler County’s cities and townships have moratoriums or outright bans already — Seven Mile’s moratorium should be okay.
“The real test is going to be is how serious is Seven Mile about studying the question,” Mara said. “They can’t just sit on their hands for the next nine months and not really embark upon a study of the potential impacts. If it’s just a stalling mechanism that would be inappropriate.”
The Ohio Pharmacy Board awarded the provisional licenses and has declared that the permits are “exclusive to the entity and location identified in the application.” Ali Simon, the public and policy liaison for the board, said many entities have posed the “theoretical” question of what to do in the situation where a license has been awarded but a jurisdiction issues a moratorium or ban later.
She said the board would need to see the actual moratorium wording — it hasn’t yet been drafted in Seven Mile — in order to discuss this particular situation. She said the board was meeting soon with all 56 dispensary licensees and she might have more information after that.
The Journal-News reached out to the company that wants to build a dispensary in Seven Mike — it is based out of Boca Raton, Fla. — but phone calls were not returned.
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