Councilman John Gabriel explained the Vermilion City Council is operating under a six-month moratorium on medical marijuana. He said the planning commission should start thinking about this issue because if medical marijuana becomes completely legal and open in Ohio; then this board will have a big decision and input as to whether it will be allowed in Vermilion and where it would be allowed through zoning.
He asked the members if they would want to create its own zoning or would they want to add it to an agricultural zoning, industrial zoning, or business district zoning. His opinion is that he wouldn’t necessarily want the growth aspect of it in any of the b-zoning. He could see it in the agricultural zoning if this body thought the community could benefit from medical marijuana; not only the cultivation but possibly the sale of it.
If it can generate tax dollars and become a medical relief for people in pain and it has positive aspects for medical purposes, then this is the conversation they would like the planning commission to have. Gabriel said they would need to figure out if they want to add it to current zoning or create a separate zoning, or if the planning commission doesn’t feel this is the proper place for the marijuana industry this will also weigh heavy in council’s decision, and it could be prohibited in basically all the city’s zoning districts.
Planning commission member Jim Chapple said the planning commission would need to look at the zoning to grow medical marijuana and the zoning to sell it. Gabriel said city council would like to get the planning commission to start thinking about this issue. He said they have six months until the moratorium expires, so it would be nice to get the members to start discussing this issue and whether they want to start action. However, council could choose to extend the moratorium again.
Planning commission member Heidi Strickler said she would like the clerk to research how other communities in the surrounding areas legislate medical marijuana. Gwen Fisher responded that she will gather information and forward it to the members and will put on the next agenda for discussion.
Mayor Forthofer asked the members to give the administration consideration of any resulting proposed legislation before decisions are made because they would need to know if they would be able to enforce this matter.