I am writing to clarify comments on behalf of my clients at a public meeting held by the Rootstown Township Zoning Commission on June 6 and published in the June 7 edition.
This is not a matter of medical marijuana being right or legal. It is the question of should the township permit the "growing, harvesting, drying, storing, transporting, processing, selling and reasonable ancillary activities" related to any of the other uses of medical marijuana? Those are the exact activities that the applicant is seeking to make legal in Rootstown.
These changes apply not only to the current group seeking to bring marijuana growing into the community but will apply to any other entity wanting to bring a similar business to Rootstown so long as it is located in an area zoned "Industrial." The applicant's promise to only cultivate marijuana may be true, but they cannot be held to that with the proposed regulations if at some point if the state of Ohio permits their license to expand to other activities.
For now Ohio has limited the number of entities growing, selling, etc., but if anything from Columbus changes, such vague and broad limitations could have unintended consequences on the community spanning far beyond the old Wickes' Lumber property.
My remarks about a strip club were based on Rootstown's history. The zoning codes were overly broad and vague in the 1980s. Those shortcomings led to an adult entertainment establishment taking up root in the shadow of where little leaguers used to go for ice cream after a baseball game. Many outsiders know Rootstown not for NEOMED or other assets, but instead for that establishment. Does Rootstown want to be bookended by a strip club on one end of town and a marijuana farm on the other? Is that the identity Rootstown seeks?
The proposed regulations will open up Pandora's Box to other marijuana related establishments taking up residence in the community in the future.
As previously admitted by the applicant's attorney, the laws on medical marijuana in Ohio are brand new and the "Wild West." Untested. Unproven. There is not a single facility in operation in Ohio. By permitting a new and controversial venture in the community with no prior experience anywhere in Ohio under Ohio's laws and regulations, the township is undertaking an incredible unknown risk with little to no reward other than notoriety. (A discussion on the minimal tax revenue for the township and school is beyond the scope of this letter.)
Even if you believe medical marijuana is good for an individual, a corporation growing and selling marijuana serves to only profit its investors and is not good for Rootstown.
Deron M. Boring
Attorney at Law
Rootstown= Country Bumkins......