The Columbus City Council will vote today to regulate medical marijuana dispensary locations. Priscilla Tyson, a council member, said in a written statement that the protecting community safety is the goal of the new proposed requirements. At the same time, she stressed that those with conditions that require medical marijuana must continue to have access to that necessary treatment.
The proposed regulation limits processors and growers to manufacturing districts in the city. Testing labs and dispensaries can only locate in the commercial districts. Additionally, to operate, dispensaries must get a $1,900 permit, called a Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) Special Permit.
The permit requirements include a stipulation that dispensaries cannot locate themselves within 500 feet from each other. Currently, state rules dictate that dispensaries must stay at a minimum 500 feet away from libraries, schools, and churches. However, current rules do not limit how close dispensaries can locate to one another.
Tony Celebrezze, the Department of Building and Zoning Services assistant director, asserted that Columbus wanted to spread out dispensaries. This step will prevent a density of such businesses in any one area. Also, dispensaries must notify property owners within 250 feet of their business about their operations. The new regulations require that the dispensaries provide information regarding the business as well as give emergency contact information.
Columbus has considered these potential changes for the last few months, as it prepares for the statewide medical marijuana rollout in Ohio. Many areas banned the business of medical marijuana, but Columbus decided to push ahead with the program. The 2016 Columbus medical marijuana law supposedly took effect by September 8th, 2018. However, delays have prevented its rollout. The state has approved five dispensaries for Columbus so far. They are located throughout the city.