Austintown trustees passed a resolution to repeal the township's ban on adult-use marijuana dispensaries.

The new resolution will allow only one business to operate in Austintown.

At the beginning of April, trustees unanimously approved a moratorium that would prohibit adult-use marijuana dispensaries from coming into the township.

Trustee Bruce Shepas told 21 News the reason for the change is that the moratorium was passed to give the township more time to assess the situation and wait for guidelines from the state to come out on how to handle dispensaries and how much of the sales tax revenue the township will get.

Now that those guidelines are out, Shepas says trustees are more comfortable with the issue.

Shepas said the State of Ohio will collect a 10% sales tax from adult-use cannabis sales in the state. Of that 10%, the municipality the dispensary is located in will get 35% of that revenue.

"We want to at least capitalize on the funding that we're going to receive that we can use to benefit the township," said Trustee Robert Santos.

Santos told 21 News he hopes the revenue could go towards improvements to the township's parks.

"I believe the additional revenue coming in could help Austintown substantially," Shepas agreed. "We could earmark those dollars towards possibly the park for a couple of years and then maybe earmark it again for the road department for a couple of years to improve our roads."

Santos added he was "conflicted" with how to vote, since he is against marijuana in the township, but says he was elected to be the voice of the people. Since most of the people in the township voted yes, he supported the legislation.

"Over 6,000 people in Austintown voted yes and only 5,000 people in Austintown voted no," Santos said. "I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't do what the people of Austintown wanted."

"I was truly torn and made an executive decision in the best interest of the township and taxpayer," Shepas said. "That's who my allegiance is to first."

While Trustee Monica Deavers sees the financial benefit, she's concerned for public safety and wants strict regulations when the dispensary opens.

"Now that this is legal in Ohio, it bothers me saying we should do this for the revenue in our town," Deavers said. "I am concerned for Austintown's character but after careful consideration, the residents voted for this. Do I like it? I can't say I do but I have seen the potential benefits. It's a choice that can benefit our community in the long run."

The State of Ohio allows 350 dispensaries, with Austintown now being the latest town to welcome the concept.

This would put Austintown in a similar position to Youngstown, which is also discussing a moratorium that would allow for only one adult-use marijuana dispensary in the city.

The township does not have any dispensaries that have formally inquired. Trustees do not know where the dispensary could be located but agree it will not be near a residential area.