Grove City residents who receive authorization to use medical marijuana to treat their medical conditions will have to patronize a medical marijuana dispensary outside the city limits.

City Council voted 4-1 Oct. 2 to approve legislation prohibiting the cultivation, processing and retail distribution of medical marijuana in the city.

Ohio's medical marijuana law, which took effect in September 2016, requires dispensaries to be operating by Sept. 8, 2018.

The state will allow 60 dispensaries to be located throughout Ohio, with five earmarked for Franklin County.

An individual with a qualifying medical condition will be able to, on the recommendation of a physician, apply to the state to receive an identification card allowing them to obtain, possess and use medical marijuana for treatment.

The Grove City legislation does not prohibit residents from seeking and receiving the identification card and using medical marijuana to treat their condition.

It does prohibit a medical-marijuana business of any kind from operating within city limits.

Council previously approved a one-year moratorium on marijuana operations to allow time for various state commissions and boards to adopt standards and procedures for Ohio's medical-marijuana control program.

A proposed set of regulations is under review.

The city's one-year moratorium is set to expire next month.

"We think from a policy standpoint, encouraging cultivation within our city is not the thing to do now and that's the reason we submitted the legislation" establishing the ban on marijuana operations in Grove City, Mayor Ike Stage said.

With the state still working to finalize its rules and regulations, "it's a dynamic situation," he said.

"There's a time to be a pioneer and take arrows and a time not to be a pioneer," Stage said. "We don't think today is the day that we should embrace and endorse the cultivation of that product in the city."

Councilman Jeff Davis cast the vote against the legislation.

"I don't desire to have cultivation or processing (of marijuana) in Grove City, but I am empathetic to those who have chronic pain," Davis said.

"Those who are toward the end of their life or experiencing chronic pain are legitimately in chronic pain," he said. "If I have that kind of ongoing and continual pain and I believe medical marijuana, legally proscribed, is an option that will help me, then I think we should be empathetic."

The legal medical-marijuana option is a better choice than forcing patients to "self-medicate" using alcohol or other substances, Davis said.

Councilman Ted Berry voted for the legislation, but said it was a tough choice.

His father suffered from leukemia "and had a hard way to go" at the end of his life, Berry said.

He said he decided to vote for the ban because "there are so many unknowns when we're dealing with the state on this."

Once the state's policies are set, "and we know what the lay of the land is," council should reconsider whether to allow a dispensary in Grove City, Berry said.

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