TROY — Troy City Council held a public hearing on Monday in regards to the city’s zoning laws regulating medical marijuana to five retail dispensaries in the city limits.
Two local women spoke in favor of the city’s amended ordinance allowing pharmacies to dispense prescriptions for medicinal marijuana and one woman spoke against the issue.
The amendment will ban the cultivation and processors of medical marijuana, but will allow up to five pharmacies to dispense the drug.
The city announced the law and ordinance committee will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1 at City Hall to discuss the issue before making a recommendation to city council before moving forward with a third reading.
Aimee Shannon, 45, of Troy, and Debra Duncanson, spoke in favor of the ordinance. A licensed social worker with no criminal history, Shannon shared her life-long battle with chronic illness and believes she may benefit from medicinal marijuana.
Shannon shared how she has been prescribed to take up to 14 Vicodin with a Fentanyl patch at one point in her pain management plan. She said she no longer takes the pain medication and instead uses alternative therapy such as massage, acupuncture, exercise and other options to control pain.
“The main thing I keep hearing is the use of medical marijuana can relieve the symptoms of the diseases I currently live with to the point I am able to function somewhat normally,” Shannon said. “I have no desire to get high. If I did, I’d take the 14 Vicodin I’ve been prescribed each day.”
Shannon said she also has no desire to break the law, just wants to access medical marijuana if she is ever to be prescribed the drug.
“If the city has no trouble with the number of bars in our downtown and serving alcohol during family-friendly functions I do not understand the concern for those seeking access to medication,” Shannon said. “As an Ohio citizen who has the legal right to access medical marijuana to help manage my symptoms, I urge city council not to infringe on my right and the right of other citizens to access this medical treatment within the city’s limits.”
Duncanson shared her experience living in the San Francisco Bay area and seeing medical marijuana used in hospice care.
“I’m in favor of medical marijuana … it is quite an asset,” Duncanson said. “It is vital to patients, especially those with cancer who can’t eat. It helps them eat. I’ve seen it work.”
Duncanson said, “We need to open our minds and try other things.”
Mary Louise Boss, a downtown business owner, court recorder and resident of Troy, spoke against the medical marijuana initiative.
Boss passed out a prepared packet to support her view against the issue, highlight the dangers of marijuana.
“I have very mixed feelings after sitting here this evening and listening to the kind ladies who spoke about the need for it in people’s lives,” Boss said. “I recognize that city council is in a very difficult position that the legislature has put into the communities to decide how the community is going to be.”
Boss shared her personal view and how she supports keeping Miami County drug free.
“The marijuana dispensaries appear to be in direct contrast to the efforts to create a safe and healthy place for healing and restoration for victims and their families wanting to break free from the dark and destructive drug culture,” Boss said.
She said the practice of dispensing medical marijuana will send mixed messages to children, “How can you go and say stay away when you legally support dispensaries in the city.”
The amendment also prohibits a cultivator, processor, retail dispensary or laboratory from being located or relocating within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground or public park, which is state law. For example, CVS Pharmacy on West Main Street will be ineligible to dispense medical marijuana due to its proximity to a church on Sherman and Ash streets.
The following business zones will allow the sale or dispensary of medical marijuana: within a B-1 (Local Retail District), B-2 (General Business District) or B-4 (Highway Service Business District) zoning district.
The amendment will not allow the sale in the downtown historical district or B-3 central business district.
Beginning on Sept. 8, Ohio became the 25th state to enact legislation allowing for the medicinal use of marijuana by approving House Bill 523.
On July 18, Troy City Council approved a moratorium of 180 days for permits pertaining to the medical marijuana issue.
Earlier this month, Concord Township Trustees approved a resolution to prohibit the location of medical marijuana cultivators, processors and retail distributors for one year in the unincorporated sections of Concord Township.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews