Austintown Township trustees ban medical marijuana businesses …

Austintown Township trustees have voted to ban any medical marijuana business from opening in the township.

Trustees on Monday approved an amendment to prohibit marijuana cultivators, processors, and retail dispensaries throughout the township.

“It’s not necessarily a statement upon medical marijuana. It’s just not good timing,” said Rick Stauffer, Austintown Township Trustee.

Austintown trustees agreed this is the right step to help protect their community.

The trustees say there are too many unknown factors with medical marijuana businesses and do not see a real benefit to having one in the community.

“To be truthful, Austintown receives nothing more than a tax base from it, just property tax from the building being here,” said James Davis, Austintown Township Trustee.

Weathersfield Township and Columbiana have already acted to ban medical marijuana. A similar proposal is being considered in Leetonia.

Starting in June, Ohio will accept applications to allow up to 24 medical marijuana growing operations.

Last year, Governor John Kasich signed Ohio’s medical marijuana law allowing people to buy and use nonsmoking marijuana if prescribed by a doctor. The law though does give local governments some control.

“We specifically put in a provision that would allow local governments to opt out of growing sites or to opt out of dispensaries or to limit the number of dispensaries they wanted in their particular township or municipality. I think that’s fair,” said Ohio Senator Joe Schiavoni.

Senator Schiavoni says the appointed commission is working on a plan for exactly how this entire program will move forward in 2018.

Ohio Representative John Boccieri says there are still many unanswered questions. “What we are having is a lot of confusion at the local level and confusion across the state as to how and when this is going to be implemented and the rules just haven’t been written yet,” Boccieri said.

The department of commerce says the program is on track to have these medical marijuana businesses open by September 2018.

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