Two Norwalk city council members have proposed legislation to welcome medical marijuana businesses to operate in the city. The legislation will be presented next week by co-sponsors Chris Castle and Kelly Beck. Maple City wants to be able to welcome medical marijuana cultivators with open arms.
Ohio passed House Bill 523 nearly a year ago, according to Norwalk Reflector. The state has until May 6 to adopt and implement rules for the new industry. Individual municipalities are permitted to “opt out”, banning medical marijuana businesses of any kind from operating in their jurisdictions.
Kelly Beck said, “This is a legal, healthcare industry sector, fully supported by the state. At a time when our community is struggling with unemployment and flat revenue streams, why in the world would we chase good paying jobs and the accompanying tax dollars away?”
Only 24 cultivator licenses will be issued statewide. Beck is hoping that Norwalk will look at the revenue generation potential and be innovators in the state.
Chris Castle said, “Very few municipalities are being proactive in addressing that deadline of May 6. We want to be at the forefront of the industry.”
Castle also said, “Norwalk is located between two of the biggest markets in the state – Cleveland and Toledo. We have access to multiple state and U.S. routes and we are within a few minutes of the nation’s east/west corridor – I-80/I-90.”
Castle and Beck hope that the residents of Norwalk will support medical marijuana businesses coming to town. The regulations will be strict, so they hope that it will play a positive role in implementing medical marijuana cultivation facilities.
Beck said, “We’re talking about indoor cultivation only. Not processing facilities or dispensaries, but simple cultivation. And from my understanding, these facilities will be highly secured.”
Regarding the reception the proposal has gotten so far, Castle said, “I haven’t had a single ounce of negative feedback. We understand where we are financially as a city. We understand revenue is flat, we understand expenses are rising and we can’t continue to go back to the well and ask voters to spend their money when there are more creative means to generate revenue.”