The possibility of a medical marijuana dispensary locating in Washington C.H. was discussed this week by city council.

The final June meeting of the Washington City Council was held Wednesday at the administration building, 105 N. Main St. All council members were present along with the city manager, the city attorney and most of the department heads.

Council chairman Dale Lynch opened the public hearing regarding the amending of the zoning code for the dispensing of medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is legal in Ohio and, if the state decides to require that a dispensary be located within the City of Washington Court House, the city needs to be prepared with an answer as to where it will be located.

According to John Pfeifer, a member of the local planning commission, “The state handed this to us (the planning commission) and right now this is just a zoning issue. It will be September or October before we find out what conditions may be placed on locations like Washington Court House.”

Pfeifer, who was also speaking on behalf of other pastors in attendance, said that “marijuana is a gateway drug and has been proven harmful to the brain, the heart and the lungs.”

Several council members spoke out strongly about resenting the state for putting them (the council) in this position, and several other council members spoke of the hard work that is being done to revitalize the downtown. There was a long discussion regarding what options the city has in regard to a directive from the state, and where the dispensary might be located – either in District B2 (downtown) or District B3 (the mall area). By the end of the meeting, it was decided to table any further discussion until more information can be gathered.

Also signed up to speak were two residents, Roger and Carol Bookman, who had come to the city building on May 30 to discuss a water billing problem and found the man behind the counter to be rude and insulting. “He never introduced himself, cut us off in mid-sentence and told us we were wasting his time. We found him to be unprofessional and not representative of what our hometown and this council represents,” said Carol Bookman.

Lynch apologized to the couple for this unfortunate interaction and asked City Manager Joe Denen to look into it.

Denen reported that mosquito fogging has begun, but reminds residents that “the fogging is influenced by the weather, particularly wind.” Denen also reported that street painting has started and that this year the city has “purchased a better grade of paint,” and is looking for longer lasting results than in the past.

Denen also thanked the State Fire Marshall’s Office, the local police, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, and the Fayette County Health Department for the coordinated work in facilitating recent motel inspections, and noted the efforts of fire chief Tom Youtz in coordinating the work. Denen also reminded all in attendance about Fire In The Sky and thanked all those involved in the successful Toast of Summer. Also noted was the fire department and the water plant participating in Carnegie Library’s Summer Kids outings.

In other business, two council committees had minutes of their recent meetings approved by the full council, and 11 resolutions and seven ordinances were approved to move forward in the process of being adopted.

In regard to the dog ordinance, which has been temporarily tabled, two public hearings have been scheduled, both on July 10, one at noon and again at 5:30 p.m. at the administration building. Those interested do not need to pre-register.

City council meets promptly at 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month in council chambers on the second floor of the City Administration Building.

Local pastors, Todd Maurer, John Pfeifer and Jay Lucas, expressed concern at Wednesday’s city council meeting about the possibility of a marijuana dispensary coming to Washington C.H. pastors, Todd Maurer, John Pfeifer and Jay Lucas, expressed concern at Wednesday’s city council meeting about the possibility of a marijuana dispensary coming to Washington C.H.
Zoning code amendment tabled during meeting

By Bev Mullen

For the Record-Herald