The Washington Court House City Council briefly discussed Wednesday what the city could do should Issue 3, Ohio’s marijuana legalization measure, pass in the November election.
The discussion began when City Manager Joe Denen informed the council that the local Tea Party will be holding a public forum on Thursday night at Southern State Community College about the pending legislation.
“This brings us to what is council’s disposition towards that issue. You could look at it as that if it becomes legal, it is the will of the people, and so be it, or opportunities do exist if you wanted to look at changes in the zoning code,” Denen told council. “I would recommend that you allow Mr. Pitstick to bring a list of options and legislation for you folks to think about. You might want to, at least start, going through the reading process. I don’t recommend having a knee jerk reaction, but at the same time I suggest you take enough legislative action that you keep every potential avenue open.”
Council member Ted Hawk asked if there was a possibility of creating a “dry area” for marijuana, similar to certain areas when it comes to alcohol.
“I really can’t tell you,” City Prosecutor Mark Pitstick said. “There are going to be so many legal questions that come up with this, so I honestly can’t say.”
“We’ve been discussing so rampantly about the drug problems in this community and how we are trying so hard to fight against it, and then we are going to openly accept that an establishment selling marijuana is right downtown?” said council member Leah Foster. “That’s my position on it. I understand the perspective that we could monitor it closer, but can you? I don’t know.”
Resident Rose Hazelbaker, of 610 High St., spoke to the council regarding the discussion on marijuana that had just concluded.
“I would like to address this marijuana thing right now. My son is a 27-year-old autistic. He is on medications for his seizures. If you keep my son from getting his marijuana oil, which is better for him, than all these things,” said Hazelbaker. “My son is not the only one. We have 120 autistics and I’m pretty sure I can say that at least 110 of them have had a seizure, grand mal, or something. And I can tell you that you are really going to anger the autism community and you guys need to really think carefully. It isn’t cut and dry, I realize that, but we do need to remember that there are children and adults out there that need this marijuana oil, and if we don’t get it, our kids will be melting down and there will just be a chaotic life. And if his is chaotic, mine is chaotic, and you really don’t want me to have a chaotic life. I just think there are some things that need to be done in the General Assembly and not nit picked here in Washington Court House.”
“We realize that, if this is passed in Ohio, it of course is passed in Washington Court House,” said council chair Ben Roby. “What we were just discussing was if there was a way to make sure there is only a certain place that it would better serve the community.”
The council also moved the four meetings in November and December to Monday, rather than the Wednesday, to accommodate for the holidays.
Denen also reminded council that Beggar’s Night for 2015 is set for Oct. 29 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Trick-or-Treat at Eyman Park is set for Oct. 24 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m..
“Folks need to remember to drive with caution that night,” said Denen.
Reach Kellee Bonnell at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @newskelleebee.