LIMA — As Lima City Council’s Safety Services Committee seeks more public input on the potential of a medical marijuana dispensary coming to the city, both mayoral candidates said they believe that Lima City Council is taking the correct approach on the issue.
Both Lima Mayor David Berger and challenger Keith Cheney expressed approval for the committee’s efforts to gain a fuller understanding on the issue of medical marijuana and its administration through the state.
“Fundamentally, the issue is in front of City Council because, as the legislative body, they have to decide whether to change the city zoning code in order to permit any or all of the related operations that the state legislature has now allowed,” Berger said. “I think that it’s clear that council is trying to understand the issue, and ultimately, council will make the choice.”
“I’m the type of individual where I want all of the facts before me before I make a decision, and I think that Lima City Council, at this point, has it right to wait to make a decision until all of the rules are in place and we have all of the facts,” Cheney said.
Neither Berger nor Cheney expressed a personal preference for whether a dispensary should be located in Lima, but Berger did take issue with the state legislature’s plan to have the administration of medical marijuana completely separated from other dispensations of medicine, saying that pharmacists in the state could be trained to dispense the drug in accordance with state law.
“We have pharmacies that have trained personnel, have inventory management, have all kinds of rules and regulations for how they manage all kinds of drugs and medicines,” he said. “The idea that we have to have a totally separate set of institutions in order to do that is curious to me, and I never saw any real discussion around that when the state legislature took its action.”
Cheney said that the onus should be on the federal government to remove marijuana from its list of Schedule I drugs, freeing up researchers to work with marijuana to discover and harness any medical applications it could provide.
“Amazingly, cocaine is a Schedule II drug, meaning there’s limited medical usage,” he said. “Ultimately, the federal government needs to take action and determine what they will do. Personally, I believe there is medicinal value, which comes from the oil, and it certainly has some medical proof that it can help people with leukemia, epilepsy and other medical issues.”