BLUE ASH – After a heated discussion among Blue Ash City Council members, medical marijuana will be allowed in Blue Ash, for now.

Mayor Lee Czerwonka introduced a motion to ban medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivators and processors within the city of Blue Ash. The state legislation for medical marijuana allows local governments to regulate where the dispensaries can be through zoning laws or to ban it outright.

“I just don’t want to see this city become a bull’s-eye for other people to come here and buy their medical marijuana. It also ruins all of our strip malls and devalues them in the end,” Czerwonka said.

His motion failed by a vote of 3-4. Czerwonka, Councilman Robert Buckman and Councilman Marc Sirkin voted for it. Vice Mayor Tom Adamec, Councilman Pramod Jhaveri, Councilwoman Stephanie Stoller and Councilman Rob Ryan voted against it.

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A motion by Blue Ash Mayor Lee Czerwonka, center, to ban medical marijuana failed by a vote of 3-4. (Photo: The Community Press/ Marika Lee)

“It looks like there are no places around us at all. This is medical marijuana; this is not just marijuana for the public. I don’t know how else people are going to get it if they really need it for the illness they have if somebody does have it,” Stoller said.

The legislation for medical marijuana goes into effect in September. Sirkin said his problem is with how the legislation is worded, but it not fully against having a dispensary in the city.

“We can always see how the program runs for a year or so and then revisit this if the program is working well. I would like to have us sit back for a while and not be one of the test cases,” he said.

Czerwonka said he is against having it in the city because of possible negative effects on surrounding businesses.

“These groups that are wanting medical marijuana, some of them or legit some of them are not and using this process to go through the back door for recreational marijuana. What happens is they take the little store front they had for medical marijuana, divide it down the middle and now it is both things? That I don’t want to see in Blue Ash,” Czerwonka said.

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Ryan said the city needs to be making decisions based on facts not fears.

“I think we need to identify the fears that we have and see if they are real. You talk about devalued property, let’s look at that and see if properties have been devalued. I don’t care about your opinion but if you are talking about something that is going to have an economic impact, you can’t just say it. Prove it,” Ryan said.

Council talked about medical marijuana a few months and discussed banning it or regulating it to a certain part of the city.

“There are pros and cons to all of this. My only feeling is because these regulations are changing so much, it may change so much that it isn’t anything like this a year from now. It also might give us time to look at these questions,” Adamec said.

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