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Ravenna weighs medical pot

Zoning changes eyed for county seat

By DIANE SMITH Staff Writer Published: July 18, 2017 4:00 AM

Ravenna City Council is considering rolling out the red carpet for businesses related to medical marijuana after a would-be distributor of the product approached city officials.

City Engineer Bob Finney told city council's planning committee that a person interested in opening a dispensary in the area recently discussed the idea with him.

Finney said the businessman, whom he did not name, is considering other locations as well, but thought the Portage County seat would be a good location, because it's home to an outpatient clinic of the veterans administration, as well as University Hospitals Portage Medical Center, medical offices and a Social Security office. The presence of a bus line also is a consideration, he told Finney.

Potential customers would need a letter from their doctor to be sent to the state, which would then issue a card to that patient, the would-be dispensary owner told Finney. That patient would then be limited on how much of the product could be purchased.

However, Finney pointed out, the state doesn't consider a dispensary the same thing as a pharmacy, so the city would need to approve zoning changes to allow such businesses. If council wants such businesses to move to Ravenna, Finney suggested putting them in the C-2 commercial district, along the northern city border near the hospital, or in the industrial zone. He also suggested making such businesses have a conditional use permit, allowing the city to regulate it better.

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Councilman Rob Kairis suggested that dispensaries go into the commercial district, while cultivation, processing and testing be sent to the industrial area.

Councilman Fred Berry said he was opposed to medical marijuana in the city, saying officials who have permitted it elsewhere report that businesses are leaving towns because of it.

"I'm very much against it," he said. "Years ago, they said the same thing about cocaine, and now look at it. There's a possibility that the same thing could happen with marijuana."

Resident Cliff Soudil pointed out that he knew about a dozen people who had died of causes related to alcohol, and yet the city welcomes bars with open arms. He noted that oil from marijuana has shown promise in helping people with serious medical conditions, including children with seizures.

The committee will discuss the idea further next month, and the legislation may be approved by September in order to permit applicants to seek a license from the state.

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realist Jul 18, 2017 3:24 PM

It does not appear that Mr. Berry has an understanding of Medical Marijuana. A little research could help him. There again, he is not running for council again.....It will be a new council makeup for next year. COCAINEyears ago? Just what is he trying to say? Educating closed minds is a wonderful thing......

redleg6 Jul 18, 2017 12:14 PM

From above:..Councilman Fred Berry said he was opposed to medical marijuana in the city, saying officials who have permitted it elsewhere report that businesses are leaving towns because of it...

*** Mr. Berry,

Drive around Ravenna, look around the town, go down Main St/Chestnut St...

What do you see..??? EMPTY STORE FRONTS...

Business has been leaving Ravenna and Marijuana Dispenseries had nothing to do with it....

Mr. Berry should research how much $$$ Ravenna would receive from the dispensery....Could be a Cash Cow...

Consider, the dispensery would bring folks to town...Get your medication, maybe take in a cartoon/ movie, get the munchies, have some lunch/dinner...Shop..? Window shop the EMPTY store fronts on Main Street...

Allow the Dispensery,..