Grandview Heights plans to join other Ohio cities in placing a moratorium on medical marijuana-related businesses until after the state adopts rules and regulations

Grandview Heights plans to join other Ohio cities in placing a moratorium on medical marijuana-related businesses until after the state adopts rules and regulations

Although a new law that legalizes medical marijuana took effect Sept. 8, "this law currently has just the barest of frameworks in place," said City Attorney Joelle Khouzam.

"We wanted to have a chance to look at the issue overall and get some clarity on what the rules are going to be before we decide whether to take any action to allow medical-marijuana operations in our community," Mayor Ray DeGraw said.

"It's prudent to hit the pause button and understand what this new state law means in terms of our zoning ordinances," Khouzam said.

The Ohio Department of Commerce will develop a regulatory and enforcement framework to address the regulation of medical-marijuana cultivation, processing, retail sale, physician recommendations and consumption.

The state medical board and board of pharmacy also will adopt a set of regulations.

So far, Ohio has only proposed rules regarding the licensing and regulation of cultivators, Khouzam said.

Grandview likely would have to adopt new zoning legislation to allow medical-marijuana operations, DeGraw said.

"No one really knows what this all means yet," he said. "It's been a topic of conversation among the members of the Ohio Mayor's Association."

House Bill 523 permits registered patients and caregivers in Ohio to use medical marijuana on the recommendation of physicians and requires the three state agencies to create regulatory oversight over the cultivation, processing and sale of the drug for medical purposes.

Cities also have the authority to potentially adopt regulations to prohibit or limit the number of retail medical-marijuana dispensaries.

The state law prohibits a cultivator, processor, retail dispensary or laboratory from being located within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground or public park.

City Council was scheduled to hold a second reading and possible vote on the ordinance at its Nov. 21 meeting.

The moratorium will begin once the state forwards the regulations and will last for six months. It can be extended for another six months if needed.

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