MEDINA TWP. — Township trustees told representatives from a center that wanted to open a marijuana dispensary they weren’t welcome in the community.
That brought a cheer from the crowd of about 25 people at the trustees Thursday night meeting.
Stella’s Wellness Center wanted to open a dispensary in Plaza 71 on Medina Road. Center representatives presented their ideas at the meeting, but it was all for naught.
“I’m not in favor of this, plain and simple,” Trustee Ray Jarrett said.
Trustee Bill Ostmann followed suit, saying he could not vote in favor of the plan.
But Trustee Ken DeMichael said he’s not 100 percent sure trustees should prevent the opening of a dispensary.
“Opiates are killing people,” he said.
It didn’t matter what DeMichael may have had in mind. The first two trustees already had shot down Stella’s plan.
Stella’s Wellness Center had asked Medina Township trustees for a letter of support to attach to their dispensary application to the state.
“We won’t be sending a letter,” Ostmann said. “We’re not ready for this in this community.”
Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 523 a year ago in June, which makes it legal for doctors to recommend medical marijuana use for patients with certain medical conditions.
The law also allows municipalities to limit where medical marijuana businesses can locate or to prohibit them completely.
The marijuana at the dispensary would have been in oil or edible form.
“They wouldn’t be rolling joints in the business,” said Sharon Township resident Diane O’Donnell.
O’Donnell was designated by Stella’s Wellness Center as the community liaison for the project.
Her sister, Dr. Nancy Stella, told trustees medical marijuana “saved my life.” She is a cancer survivor.
Eric Senders, a consultant from iGrow Induction Lighting for Growers of Beachwood, said he was disappointed with the outcome.
“Based on our first meeting, we thought they were in favor of it,” he said. “Unfortunately, some in the public were misinformed. This is not a fly-by-night service.
“It’s sad. The township will not reap the benefits (of the business). It’s going to be here (in the state) whether the township likes it or not.”
O’Donnell said after the meeting she has been approached by Lodi officials about possibly opening a dispensary there. She said she might explore opening it in Akron.
At the meeting, township resident John Basilone said Stella’s Wellness Center should have selected another municipality to open a facility.
“You guys picked the wrong community,” he said. “You’re not going to stop it (medical marijuana). The only thing (the trustees) can do is stop them from going to Plaza 71.”
Two companies this year have approached Lodi Village Council to discuss licensing to grow marijuana for medical use: CropKing of Lodi and Clean Green Farms LLC, which is based in Michigan.
Stella’s Wellness Center proposed to donate 0.5 percent of its gross revenue to the township, up to $50,000 in the first year. It could jump to $100,000 in the second year and $150,000 in the third.
It also planned to hire 12 to 14 employees in the first year.
A second consultant from iGrow, Ari Seaman, said it costs $5,000 to apply for a dispensary fee with the state. If you get a license, it costs $80,000. One of the requirements from the state is that the company has at least $250,000 in the bank.
Seaman told O’Donnell not to fret about the township’s decision.
“Someone will say yes,” he said.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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