A City Council Public Hearing was held on Monday, September 23, 2019 on the matter of Medical Marijuana Zoning. The purpose of the public hearing was to listen to input from Vermilion residents about Medical Marijuana Zoning. The meeting did not cover the legalization of marijuana, recreational use, or any items other than the question: “Should the City of Vermilion allow zoning for the growth and/or distribution of marijuana for those with a prescription for medical purposes only?”
No voting or decisions on the subject were made at this meeting, it was for information gathering only.
John Gabriel, Council Representative to the Planning Commission, explained they wanted to hear from the residents on matters pertaining to zoning such as conditional use of properties and if they will create specific zoning for various types of businesses, as well as prohibited use. He said they wanted to hear from the public as this would probably affect agricultural zoned lands and B-3 areas. They wanted this public hearing so residents of agricultural land, or neighbors that abut agricultural land, could share their feelings on whether the growth or harvesting of marijuana affects the nutrients of the ground, or if it takes additional irrigation, or if it creates runoff or burden to the city systems. He said City Council and the Planning Commission would take this input into consideration when making any decisions.
Only one Vermilion resident spoke at the hearing. Homer Taft, of 3972 Edgewater Drive, had hoped that Council’s question would have related to the production as well as the growth of various products, as well as the sale of those products.
“So, the question should be, 'Why should the City of Vermilion allow any of these marijuana enterprises within the city?'” stated Taft. “Why indeed would they not allow the townships instead to have the benefit of these facilities; they’re not something that affects the ground at all because they’re completely contained inside of a building.”
“It requires a building which is taxable, and it requires employees which are taxable if they’re in the city,” said Taft. “It generates more value, and therefore more things for the city. Production same thing – it requires employees, lots of regulations and lots of security.”
“The sale of product – again very secure facilities – and it permits taxes to be enhanced, both real estate value and for income taxes within the city,” continued Taft. “Why would they not want to just push all of this out into the townships? Maybe it’s also because medical marijuana is a serious medicine. Maybe because it stops seizures that kill children; treats glaucoma, gives palliative care to a lot of people who are very ill and hopefully will recover, but may not. The scientific literature indicates that it may even cure diseases, including certain forms of cancer. Why the heck would they want to do that when they have 10,000 or more residents in the city, some of them who would be suffering with that?”
Taft stated he would hope the answer would be obvious – that we need to allow a perfectly legal activity for a perfectly legal purpose for the benefit of the citizens in a way that also benefits the city.
“These are reasons I would submit to Council’s consideration,” said Taft. “Other things may come up and people might address the vaping, so I want to address the vaping. It has been the decision of the State of Ohio that much of this has to be administered by vaping, not smoking and so forth. The scientific fact is that all the investigation on vaping illnesses and deaths so far – the only cause that has been shown has been counterfeit illegal products, not nicotine and not the legal vaping products for medical marijuana.”
He encouraged the city to allow this. He said for the record he has never used marijuana, but that wasn't the point. The point was that a lot of people benefit by it and it doesn’t hurt a single soul, so they need to do this to help those folks and he hopes the City will do so.
Upon no further audience participation coming before the body, Monica Stark, Council at Large, adjourned the Vermilion City Council Public Hearing.