ELIDA — Elida Village Council’s Safety Committee is recommending legislation to prohibit the cultivation, processing and distribution of marijuana within the village, mirroring similar prohibitions already enacted in several Allen County townships, including American Township.
The recommendation came after a meeting Tuesday morning at Elida Village Hall. The committee, consisting of Elida Police Chief Dale Metzger, Council President Mike Sebenoler and Councilors Rhonda McCoy and Chris McNamara, discussed the implications of a marijuana processing or distribution center in the village, noting there could be benefits as well as problems as a result.
“We chose to take this stance even knowing it could increase our tax base,” Sebenoler said. “When weighing all the options, the cons outweigh the pros.”
For Metzger, the concern over any possible processing center or dispensary stems from what he sees as the increased risk for theft and crime and the extra strain that would put on his staff’s effort to maintain public safety.
“I don’t have the exact numbers, but I know that out in Colorado where a lot of the selling and growing is, they’re seeing a spike in crimes,” he said during the meeting. “Whenever you have something like this, especially for selling, you’re going to have people breaking in trying to get that extra money to get a little bit more. Personally, I have to look out for the citizens of the village first, and we would likely see an increase in crimes.”
Sebenoler and the other committee members acknowledged that even if such legislation would pass, there remains the possibility of a challenge, with someone perhaps deciding to try to open a dispensary anyway under the premise that it is legal under state law.
“I understand there could be a legal challenge to it, but we’re trying to deter it,” Sebenoler said.
“Even in other states where it is legal even for recreational use, municipalities have come back and said, ‘Not here,’” McCoy said.
Elida Village Council will have the first opportunity to consider the legislation at its July 25 meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the village hall. There is sufficient time to allow for three readings of the bill and pass it as an emergency after the third reading before the state-imposed deadline of September of this year for townships and municipalities to enact such prohibitions.