The medical-marijuana industry will not be dormant in Ohio much longer, but the city of Powell does not plan to reap the rewards.
Powell City Council on June 20 voted unanimously to ban businesses that grow, process or sell medical marijuana within city limits. The Ohio legislature last year approved the use of medical marijuana throughout the state but gave municipalities the right to bar marijuana-related businesses.
Potential cultivation businesses have until the end of June to apply for licenses from the state, while the Ohio Board of Pharmacy has not yet finalized application and licensing rules for potential dispensaries.
While several central Ohio communities have considered or passed moratoriums, Powell officials said they felt more comfortable with a full ban.
"It's something we could modify down the road," Councilman Frank Bertone said.
Bertone, chairman of the city's operations committee, said he feared a moratorium would be more likely to open Powell up to legal challenges.
City Law Director Gene Hollins previously said he advises municipalities against passing such moratoriums because businesses could sue to overturn them by arguing the length of the temporary bans are unreasonable.
Powell's ban does not prevent residents from using medical marijuana or purchasing it outside the city. It also does not prohibit a public or private entity from conducting research related to marijuana within city limits.
Anyone who violates the city's prohibition on businesses that grow, process or sell marijuana faces a fourth-degree misdemeanor charge every day the firm remains open.