LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Medical marijuana dispensaries will soon be welcome in Lakewood. On October 2, Lakewood City Council passed an ordinance enabling the city to officially begin accepting applications for dispensary licenses. After the legislation goes into effect in 40 days, the city will begin issuing the permits.
“I’m hopeful that this ordinance will actually mitigate a very serious problem that we have with opioid abuse,” said Councilman Daniel O’Malley, citing a number of studies linking legalized medical marijuana with a decrease in opioid overdoses.
The move comes after Ohio House Bill 523 took effect on September 8, 2016, codifying a statewide medical marijuana control program under which licensed cultivators, processors, dispensaries and testing laboratories can legally operate within the state. At this time, Lakewood is not allowing cultivators or processing plants to locate within the city.
The city doesn’t anticipate more than one dispensary opening its doors in Lakewood, however, at least for some time. The state will only be issuing five medical marijuana dispensary licenses in Cuyahoga County, and 60 statewide. Ohio will begin its two-week review of state-level dispensary applications on November 3.
The Lakewood city council had previously passed two moratoriums on medical marijuana businesses within the city, beginning with a six-month measure passed last July.
Lakewood’s ordinance outlined an extensive application process for potential dispensaries, as well as a detailed list of regulations for any medical marijuana dispensaries eventually established within the city, including:
- Medical marijuana dispensaries cannot be within 500 feet of any parcel where a school, church, public library, public playground or public park is located. Medical marijuana dispensaries must also be at least 1,000 feet from any other Lakewood medical marijuana dispensary, prohibiting the establishment of any perceived “medical marijuana district.”
- Signs posted on the outside of the dispensary must be only two colors, and can only contain the name of the business, without any imagery of marijuana leaves or marijuana smoking.
- All applicants must be natural citizens that are at least 18 years old, and must not have had a license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary denied or revoked within the previous 12 months by any jurisdiction.
- All Lakewood dispensary applicants must submit a valid retail dispensary license or provisional dispensary license issued to them by the state board of pharmacy, or present evidence that they have begun that application process.
- All applicants must submit a security plan for review by the Chief of Police, including an outline of the dispensary’s proposed lighting plan and location of security cameras, alarms and security guards. Applicants must also submit a diagram detailing the layout of the dispensary, including where the dispensary license will be prominently posted.
- The Director of Public Safety must approve or deny a medical marijuana dispensary license application within 90 days of receiving it.
- Every applicant that is granted a license must pay the city an annual, non pro-rated license fee of $25,000, plus 1.5 percent of the licensed dispensary’s gross annual sales above the amount of $1.25 million.