NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The city’s proposed ban on the cultivation, processing or dispensing of medical marijuana was put on hold for another two weeks Monday after City Council was unable to get enough votes to pass the measure.
A motion was made during the Council meeting by President Kevin Corcoran to pass the ordinance that would ban medical marijuana businesses within the city limits on its second reading, rather than waiting for it to appear before Council three times. Corcoran also planned to attempt to pass the ordinance on emergency, which would have meant the ban would have gone into effect immediately, rather than the standard 30 days after Council approves the ordinance.
When the measure to waive the third reading was voted on, it passed 4-2 but didn’t have the required supermajority necessary.
“Under our charter, to suspend Council bylaws, two-thirds must vote in favor,” Law Director Andrew Crites said. “Our supermajority means you need five people to vote in favor. In the way our charter reads, it doesn’t mean a supermajority of who showed up that day; it’s two-thirds of all members of Council.”
Councilman Bruce Abens and Councilwoman Rosanne Johnson voted against the measure Monday, while Councilman Gregg Westover was absent from the meeting. Westover has voted against the banning of medical marijuana businesses in the city in the past.
Corcoran had hoped for the ban to go in effect Monday night to avoid any open windows when the city doesn’t have a moratorium or a ban on medical marijuana businesses. The city’s six-month moratorium on such businesses expires Wednesday, according to Corcoran.
“I thought about just eliminating the possibility, but from a practical sense, somebody would be taking a huge risk to ask for any of those types of businesses, whether it be cultivator, processor or dispensary,” he said. “They’d be taking a huge risk in asking the city to approve their business without actually knowing what the rules are for their business at the state level.”
Council considered voting on extending the moratorium another 60 days to give plenty of time for the ban to go into effect but ultimately decided against it.
“I think the whole issue is moot. You should just wait until the next meeting,” Mayor David Gillock said. “The rules for processing and dispensing won’t even be passed (at the state level) until September. Most of your cultivators are already working with other cities, but if one wanted to come here, they’d have to come before Planning Commission. Even if it was approved by Planning, Council would have to approve it, as well.”
The medical marijuana business ban will come before City Council for a third reading at the next scheduled meeting, which was moved to July 5, to accommodate the city’s Independence Day celebration scheduled for July 3.
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