Prospective Cleveland medical marijuana businesses may have to start looking outside of Forest City if they hope to have a chance for business progress and prosperity.
On Oct. 30, 2017, the Cleveland City Council voted 15-1 to approve a zoning ordinance that would limit the operations of medical marijuana businesses within city limits. According to Cleveland.com, the ordinance would prevent the sale of medical marijuana in approximately 95% of the city.
The sole dissenting voice on the council came from councilwoman Dona Brady, who felt the ordinance did not go far enough and called for a 1000-foot buffer zone for Cleveland medical marijuana businesses. That notion was rejected, however, when City Planning Director Freddy Collier testified that such a rule would make it all but impossible for a medical marijuana business to open in the city.
Under the approved ordinance, Cleveland medical marijuana businesses may not come within 500 feet of a library, church, school, public playground or park. Businesses may only operate in areas designated for general retail and are barred from operating in areas designated for local retail businesses and residential areas.
It is the council’s hope that the new zoning will help strike a balance between tightly regulating the city’s medical marijuana market while still allowing for widespread access to those that need.
“Medical marijuana is happening,” said council member Kerry McCormack to Cleveland.com. “If the closest access to this for medicinal use … is in Independence, for example, I know a lot of my residents won’t be able to get there.”