Medical marijuana is now welcome in Lakewood. On October 2, Lakewood City Council passed an ordinance allowing the city to start accepting applications for dispensary licenses. Cleveland.com says that forty days after this legislation goes into effect, the city will start issuing permits. Councilman Daniel O’Malley stated he is hopeful that this new ordinance will solve the serious opioid abuse problem.
This move on medical marijuana came after Ohio House Bill 523 took effect September 8, 2016 codifying a statewide medical marijuana control program under which licensed cultivators, processors, testing labs and dispensaries can legally operate within the state. Lakewood at this time is not allowing cultivators or processing plants to run in the city.
Lakewood city council doesn’t expect more than one dispensary opening up in the city with the guidelines they have set up. The state will be giving out five medical marijuana licenses for Cuyahoga county, and 60 statewide. Ohio will begin its two-week review of state-wide dispensary applications on November 3.
Lakewood city council originally passed two moratoriums on marijuana businesses in the city, beginning with a six month measure passed last July. Lakewood’s ordinance outlined an extensive application for potential dispensaries including how far dispensaries have to be from schools, churches, playgrounds, libraries and parks. Other regulations include what the store may and may not have inside or outside the store, including pictures of marijuana leaves or pictures of people smoking. In addition, signs outside the dispensary can only be two colors.
Since these two moratoriums were passed, the public safety committee extended the moratoriums a second time to ninety days. This moratorium temporarily prohibits granting licenses and building permits for medical marijuana processors, cultivators, and dispensaries.
Since Governor Kasich signed the law to create a state-wide program for medical marijuana, Lakewood has been one of many cities, as well as Rockey River and Cleveland, that have passed medical marijuana moratoriums. Other cities have already taken more permanent measures, such as banning marijuana altogether like in the past.