PUBLIC HEARING MINUTES
JUNE 20, 2017 @ 6:00 P.M.
ANTWERP VILLAGE HALL
TOPIC – MEDICAL MARIJUANA
A public hearing was held on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. at town hall on the subject of considering preventing the opening or operating a business or commercial enterprise as a cultivator, processor or retail dispenser of medical marijuana within the corporation limits of the Village of Antwerp. According to Substitute House Bill 523, passed and effective as of September 8, 2016, medical marijuana would be allowed in the State of Ohio under the control of the Ohio Department of Commerce and State Board of Pharmacy. In attendance were: Mayor Ray Delong, Village Administrator Sara Keeran, Council persons Jan Reeb, Ken Reinhart and Keith West. Residents of the Village Dean Rister and Barry Hook, Paulding County Residents Mariah Overmeyer and Joel Fields.
As a part of the house bill a legislative authority of a municipal corporation can adopt regulations to prohibit, or limit the number of, retail dispensaries by amending its zoning ordinance, prohibit a cultivator, processor, retail dispensary, or laboratory from being located or relocating within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground, or public park.
Administrator Keeran stated that the Village planning commission had reviewed the House bill and its guidelines and had recommended to council to prohibit the sale, cultivation, and processing inside the corporation limits. The main reason for the recommendation was due to the fact that the village only had until September of this year to amend the zoning ordinance to prohibit the above and the formal guidelines for the dispensaries wouldn’t be formalized until September. This left the village not knowing what the actual enforcement and reporting for these retail dispensaries would be. Also, there was some concern with Indiana residents coming to Antwerp to have their medical marijuana prescriptions filled and consuming their medical marijuana before returning to Indiana, as that state has not approved medical marijuana.
Resident Dean Rister voiced his concerned that the village was turning down a business opportunity that could be of great value to the town. He also felt that since the first public hearing was not attended by a village official that the village was trying to sweep this denial of dispensaries under the rug. Council person Reeb interjected that the Village Administrator admitted immediately that she had forgotten the public hearing and that a new date would be re-scheduled. Administrator Keeran also voiced her apology that the hearing was missed. She stated the Village would never have not followed the guidelines of a required public hearing on this issue.
Joel Fields stated that while he was employed in the State of Colorado he felt that the sale of marijuana, which includes not only medical but recreational, has been a lucrative venture for the state. Councilman West stated he had spoken with sheriff’s deputies in Colorado who felt this was the worst thing to happen in the State of Colorado as far as enforcement and felt marijuana leads to harder drugs.
Councilman Reinhart said he was torn over the subject and wasn’t sure he was for prohibiting the medical marijuana. More information will be gathered as it becomes available and made available to council members.
Again, it was stated that the unknowns on how the state would enforce this new law were one of the biggest concerns that the village had in prohibiting the sale, cultivating and processing of medical marijuana in the village. Again, it was brought to the village’s attention that the state would be overseeing every aspect of this new law and that it should be re-considered.
Discussion was had that medical marijuana, along with recreational marijuana laws were becoming the norm and that in the not too distant future more states would be adopting laws permitting such use. All residents in attendance felt a dispensary would be a positive thing and felt the village should not prohibit this new business. They felt the village should further research the issue and those village representatives stated they would. They also told the residents that the medical marijuana ordinance would be given 3 readings that they were encouraged to attend the next council meeting which will be Monday, July 17, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. to express their support of medical marijuana to full council.
The public hearing ended at approximately 6:30 p.m.
Sara A. Keeran