Newark council tables medical marijuana dispensary ban – The Newark Advocate

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Newark City Council’s economic development committee tabled a law Monday night that would have banned medical marijuana dispensaries from the city of Newark.(Photo: Maria DeVito/The Advocate)Buy Photo

NEWARK – Medical marijuana dispensaries won’t be banned in the city of Newark — at least not for now.

All five members of Newark City Council’s economic development committee voted Monday night to table legislation that would have banned dispensaries from being in the city limits. Committee members want to wait until the state’s rules for dispensaries are set in September.

Curtis Johnson, R-5th Ward, who moved to table the law, said the city needs to know what the state will require of dispensaries before banning them.

“Anything that we do could be very premature,” he said.

Medical marijuana was approved by the state last September. The rules for the program are still being written by people across several state agencies and are not expected to be implemented until September 2018.

“Because of the nature of the legislation, I think it’s really important that we have all our ducks in a row and know exactly what we’re talking about,” Johnson said.

The legislation was brought to council by the city administration. Newark Safety Director Steve Baum said he had safety concerns because dispensaries are cash only businesses. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, which causes many banks to be hesitant in dealing with dispensaries.

The dispensaries would not be allowed within 500 feet of schools, churches, public libraries, public playgrounds or public parks, according to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program website. Baum said he would like to add gambling facilities and liquor stores to the list as well as not allowing one downtown.

Mark Fraizer, R-at large, gave a presentation to the committee voicing his support for allowing dispensaries in the city because of

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