Cortland commission approves amendment for medical pot dispensar - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Cortland commission approves amendment for medical pot dispensaries, cultivators

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Communities across the Valley are lining up to either welcome or oppose businesses centered around medical marijuana. 

The commission approved an amendment that will allow medical marijuana dispensaries and level two cultivators to apply for permits to move into the city.

This zoning amendment will go to a vote at city council after another public hearing in February.

Before the vote, many residents voiced their concerns about medical marijuana coming to the city

"My concern bringing this forward is I don't know if we manufacture it here is it gonna get in the air," said resident Laura Loverme. "Are we gonna have it in the water system? I mean no one really knows what the effect of it is."

Another resident, Lynn Burkey, said, "[His] experience has been that, with especially medical issues, people tend to push the system. There are so many people who would guarantee they would get a prescription-just as they would an opioid drug".

All of those concerns had council member worrying that residents may have been confused about the actual nature of the amendment.

Many residents seemed to fear that it would bring marijuana companies into the city without their input, but it would instead give residents a large say over whether or not they could come to their town, while also protecting the city from legal action from companies if the residents decided to denied dispensaries.

Council President Deidre Petrosky said, "[They] put in place a process where an applicant would come before zoning, there would be a public hearing where [the] residents could come say, 'Yes, we want this. No, we don't want this.'  If [they] turn down that application and [the company] took it to court, the court would not be able to overturn that."

This is because of the system Cortland has in place.

Cortland City Mayor Jim Woofter told 21 News he wants Cortland to remain a business-friendly city.

He said moving forward with any potential changes would require any distributor or level two cultivator to make their pitch to the community before any permit is approved.

"We're not necessarily for it or against it, all we're doing is adding it to our list of businesses that can be approved upon an open hearing," said Woofter.

It's considered medicine for many, but the odds of having access in Cortland could be slim.

The valley is in the Northeast Ohio Quadrant.

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program is only allotting 18 dispensaries in the region total. 

Ashtabula, Trumbull, and Mahoning counties share two, Columbiana County can have three.

The program weighed current rules and regulations, patient populations and access to major highways to determine how many dispensaries can be located in each Ohio county.

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