OH: Liberty Township Puts Block On Marijuana Dispensaries

Photo Credit: Jeffrey M. Smith

Businesses related to the medical marijuana industry will not be allowed in Liberty Township.

Trustees this week adopted changes to the township zoning code that define medical marijuana and related uses – and then prohibits them in all zones.

The action was taken in part because rules on dispensaries won’t be finalized or released until September, and the township’s attorneys have advised against extending the moratorium any longer.

The changes will take effect March 8 – the same day the township’s moratorium on the matter ends.

“This will protect us until we know more,” Trustee Christine Matacic said. “(Dispensaries) could go anywhere where pharmacies (are allowed) if they’re not banned.”

Nurse practitioner Teaera Roland, who treats patients addicted to opioids and other substances, presented information on medical marijuana and its uses.

And although she said she was a proponent of the use of marijuana to treat certain illnesses, she did advise trustees to wait a little longer before allowing related businesses in the township.

“When medical marijuana is legalized, (legalizing) recreational (use) often follows,” she said.

Trustees have said they can modify the ban on related businesses in the future once the rules on dispensaries and other matters are finalized.

In June 2016, Gov. John Kasich signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana, making Ohio the 25th state to approve its use.

But dispensary sales won’t begin until September to those who have a recommendation from a licensed physician and have a state identification card.

The law allows marijuana to be used to treat 21 medical conditions but does not allow the plant to be smoked or grown by the patient.

The law does allow government entities to ban growing, processing, dispensing and testing of marijuana.

West Chester Township, Sharonville, Blue Ash, Colerain Township and Fairfield also ban all medical marijuana-related businesses.

Moratoriums are in place in Ross and Fairfield townships, and Hamilton has banned dispensaries in the city.