Council clears way for medical marijuana dispensary
Fremont City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Thursday night to allow a medical marijuana dispensary in the city.
Eric Vaughan, CEO of The Forest Ohio, said his company is applying for five dispensary licenses in Ohio (the maximum allowed) with the state's Pharmacy Board and hopes to open a facility in Fremont.
"We're thrilled. We're thrilled to be a part of the city of Fremont," Vaughan said after the council meeting.
Vaughan said his company is not ready to disclose where it intends to open a dispensary in Fremont. He said that information will be included with The Forest Ohio's application with the state board for the proposed Fremont location.
The deadline to file applications for medical marijuana dispensary licenses is Nov. 17. Vaughan said his company planned to file its license applications a couple of days prior to the deadline.
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Prior to Thursday's vote, council members Kathy Stout and Angie Ruiz read from a letter sent to the council by Gibsonburg Mayor Steve Fought regarding the medical marijuana dispensary.
Standard Wellness Company LLC has applied with the state's Department of Commerce to build a proposed 50,000-square-foot medical marijuana production facility at Gibsonburg's Clearview Industrial Park.
In his letter, Fought said the emphasis on medical marijuana should be on patients and the medical benefits provided by the drug.
He said Gibsonburg residents, as "conservative a community as you will find," had overwhelmingly accepted medical marijuana in his community.
"You will not have to look hard to find that many of your friends, your family members and your neighbors suffer from conditions that can be treated by use of this medication," Fought said in the letter.
Stout said after the meeting that initially she was opposed to medical marijuana but changed her mind after talking to an acquaintance whose child benefited from the drug after going through chemotherapy treatments.
Fremont Mayor Danny Sanchez said Wednesday that he believed the measure would be approved, paving the way for a dispensary to open in a general commercial zone in the city.
Three counties (Sandusky, Ottawa and Seneca) will have to share one dispensary, according to the state licensing rules.
Fought wrote that Fremont and Sandusky County would be at the center of a growing trend if the council allowed a medical marijuana dispensary in the city.
In September 2016, Fremont City Council passed a one-year moratorium on medical marijuana, joining other cities across the state at the time in putting the brakes on businesses that wished to dispense the drug in Ohio cities.
Stout said council set the moratorium because the state at the time had yet to provide specific details on licensing and how much it will cost for business owners.
On Wednesday, Stout said the state has clarified the rules and regulations on how medical marijuana facilities would operate in Ohio since Fremont passed the year-long moratorium.