The final decision on whether medical-marijuana dispensaries should be allowed in Grandview Heights will be decided by voters Nov. 6.
Issue 32 is a referendum on whether the city's ban on dispensaries should be overturned.
Grandview Heights City Council voted 4-3 in April to prohibit medical-marijuana dispensaries in the city. Council previously had approved legislation to ban cultivation and processing operations in Grandview.
"We were just surprised that people would be against allowing the sale of essentially a pharmaceutical medicine that could help people in Grandview dealing with illnesses or other conditions," said Grandview resident Michelle Kozak.
Kozak and her husband, Terry Eisele, led the effort to collect signatures to place the referendum on the ballot.
Councilwoman Emily Keeler sponsored the legislation to ban dispensaries in the city.
"The state hasn't finalized all of the regulations regarding medicinal marijuana, and I think we should wait until everything is in place and we know exactly how things would work and then decide as a community whether we want to allow dispensaries in Grandview," she said.
Grandview is a small community with a limited number of available properties, Keeler said.
"I'm not sure this would be the best use of space," she said. "We don't even have a regular pharmacy in Grandview Heights.
"I understand that some people believe they would benefit for using medicinal marijuana, and the state has ensured there will be a dispensary near our community," Keeler said. "We passed this ordinance as a nonemergency measure to give our residents the chance to take the issue to the ballot. I'm glad our system of government is working in this case."
In June, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced that it had granted a license to Cannamed Therapeutics, one of the five Franklin County medical-marijuana dispensaries granted licenses. Cannamed's dispensary would be at 656 Grandview Ave., just outside Grandview's city limits.
The other dispensaries are to be in Clintonville, west Columbus, east Columbus and downtown.
Kozak said she and other supporters of overturning the city's ban have not been conducting a campaign per se.
"I was hoping that the dispensaries that had been approved would open as originally scheduled in September, and with one located so close to Grandview, it would give people a chance to do their own research and observe how they operate," she said.
But Ohio missed its target of having dispensaries opened by Sept. 8 because of several delays in the licensing process, lawsuits and construction delays.
"We aren't doing any signs and we don't have a website, but I think we are going to be putting together some fliers to distribute, because I'm concerned that some people may be a bit confused about the wording of the ballot measure," Kozak said.
The wording used on the ballot presents Issue 32 as "an ordinance to prohibit the retail dispensing of medical marijuana within the city."
A "no" vote on the ballot issue is a vote to overturn council's legislation, Kozak said. A "yes" vote would be a vote to uphold the city's ban.
Kozak said she's not sure how the planned Grandview Avenue dispensary would affect the vote, but added residents in support of allowing a dispensary in Grandview should vote to overturn the city's ban in any case.
"There's no reason a dispensary shouldn't be allowed to operate in Grandview and there's no guarantee the Grandview Avenue outlet will open or stay open once it's operating," she said.
Kozak said she believes many people have a misconception about medical marijuana and how a dispensary would operate.
"They hear the word marijuana and immediately think of recreational use of marijuana," she said.
The state has set up stringent regulations for how and to whom dispensaries would distribute medicinal marijuana, Kozak said.
"It's not going to be provided in the roll-it-and-smoke-it way that we think of as marijuana, although they can be used through vaping," she said. "These medications will be provided in forms like oils, edibles and patches."
Patients also won't be able to just walk off the street and obtain medicinal marijuana, Kozak said. They would need a recommendation from a certified physician, and only qualified and registered patients 18 or older and their caregivers would be allowed to enter a dispensary.