LIMA — Amid uncertainty over laws concerning marijuana, with federal law prohibiting it and state law permitting it for medicinal use, several townships in Allen County are taking proactive measures to ensure they do not get into murky legal waters.
Last week, Shawnee Township trustees voted to prohibit the cultivation, processing and dispensation of marijuana within the township, using a provision in Chapter 3796 of the Ohio Revised Code.
“We had to make a decision about whether we would allow that,” Shawnee Township Trustee Russ Holly said. “We had a public hearing prior to this, and we had two individuals come in, and no one was specifically for it. The ones who were there were looking at the monetary end of it from the standpoint of the state will only allow so many grow areas, which will probably be by your larger, metropolitan areas. The other thing we talked about was security if you had a facility like that and peripheral things that could be happening.”
The measure was passed after consultations with the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office. For County Prosecutor Juergen Waldick, allowing cultivation and distribution could create issues when it comes to enforcement, especially when traveling between areas that permit marijuana use and ones that do not.
“The townships have the ability to allow or not allow cultivation and distribution within their townships, and it’s up to the townships as to whether or not they want to do it,” he said. “My suggestion to them would be for the townships to not allow the cultivation and distribution of it. Do I see a conflict between federal and state law? Yes, and I don’t know how it’s going to be resolved, but for now, it’s still against federal law.”
Similar prohibitions have also been passed in American, Auglaize and Richland Townships, all with similar concerns over the uncertainty surrounding marijuana in Ohio.
“We wanted to make it as air tight as we could,” American Township Trustee Lynn Mohler said.
The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, a joint effort between the Ohio Department of Commerce, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy and the Ohio Medical Board, is still working to construct the framework through which medical marijuana will be dispensed. The program is required by law to be fully operational no later than September 2018.