Medical marijuana moratorium officially in effect

EATON — During a meeting on Monday, Aug. 21, Eaton City Council held an emergency reading of an ordinance which would allow for a moratorium of six months on the production of medical marijuana.

The ordinance was approved, and is officially in effect, meaning there is an active moratorium on the production of medical marijuana within city limits.

Council also began the process of banning the production of medical marijuana. Members plan to have the ban in effect on Oct. 18. At that point, the moratorium will go away via the wording in the ban ordinance.

Council was prepared to issue the moratorium on the production of medical marijuana in July, but only had three council members present and could not make an official vote on the matter.

According to Administrative Secretary Marsha Shannon, the three members were able to conduct the regular business under a quorum, but in order to adopt the emergency ordinance for medical marijuana, there would have to be a super-majority, which is four council members.

During the August meeting, council had the super-majority they needed. The first issue brought to council was Ordinance 17-07 imposing a moratorium of six months on the approval and issuance of any permits allowing retail dispensaries, cultivators, or processors of medical marijuana within the corporate limits of the City of Eaton and declaring it an emergency.

The ordinance states Ohio Revised Code authorizes a municipality to limit or entirely prohibit licensed cultivators, processors, and retailers of medical marijuana within the corporate limits of the city. It further states the ordinance is being passed as an emergency due to the impending effective date of the laws legalizing medical marijuana in the State of Ohio.

There was no discussion by council. The moratorium went into effect with the vote on Aug. 21. It is for six months, so it is set to expire on Feb. 21, 2018, but can be extended or modified at anytime as desired by council.

Next, council opened a public hearing for Ordinance 17-09 to amend Chapter 710 and Chapter 1107 of the Codified Ordinances, prohibiting medical marijuana cultivation, processing, and retail distribution within the City of Eaton. The first reading of this ordinance will begin the lengthy process to put a ban in place on the distribution of medical marijuana.

The changes to the Codified Ordinances state the cultivation, processing, or retail dispensing of medical marijuana shall be prohibited use in all zoning districts within the City of Eaton; use of property in violation of this section shall constitute a nuisance, and in addition to other penalties provided by law, the Director of Law shall be authorized to institute civil proceedings.

There were no members of the public present for the public hearing and no additional comments from council.

If council approves the second reading of this ordinance, staff expects the ban to take effect on Oct. 18.

The second reading of Ordinance 17-09 will be held during the regular council meeting on Sept. 18, at 6 p.m. in the Eaton City Building’s Council Chambers.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or Twitter @KKimbler_RH