GRANDVIEW HEIGHTS, OH (WCMH) – After a narrow vote of 4-3 last month, Grandview Heights city council members decided to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.
Since then, residents who disagreed with that decision have collected signatures to place a referendum on the November ballot. Michelle Kozak said along with her husband, Terry Eisele, and three other residents they collected 412 signatures.
“The lawyers I’m working with suggested we get 50% more than the required 275 signatures,” she said. “I submitted them last week on May 2nd to Grandview’s director of finance.”
City council member Emily Keeler sponsored the ban legislation. She said it’s not about taking away a patient’s right to use it.
“Let’s just wait and see how it plays out and we can always go back and revisit it,” she said. “I was really looking at it from a usage standpoint, not necessarily ‘We’re never going to do this.'”
She said she voted for the ban because dispensaries don’t align with federal law and having one in the city is not good business sense.
“We are less than 2 square miles, so space is at a premium. It doesn’t bring in a lot of revenue for our city. We don’t get a sales tax from it,” said Keeler. “We would get property tax. There’s not going to be a lot of employees so it’s not going to bring in a lot payroll tax in.”
Some residents said they are apprehensive about allowing a dispensary in the city.
“A concern that I have is how is it going to be distributed?” said Sandi Furr.
Furr said she worries marijuana could get into the wrong hands or be abused. However, she agrees that some people may have a medical need for it.
“ALS, MS, cancer…” said city council member Steven Reynolds. “I want to make sure that we do the best we can to help them out.”
Reynolds voted against the ban.
“The overall income tax of the business perspective is at least as much as you would find for that size usage,” he said.
Reynolds said despite disagreeing about the business impact of a dispensary, to him this is not an issue of economics.
“It’s just unconscionable for this not to be available on a medical basis, on a responsible basis to people with these conditions,” he said.
Breast cancer survivor Doni Jackson said she didn’t need to use medical marijuana for her treatment, but knows it could help others.
“I’m for anything like that that will help mankind and do it in legal way? Absolutely,” she said. “We’re talking about people who are seriously ill. This is not recreational.”