Nighttime photo of Cleveland, Ohio and the lights reflecting off the river.

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Cleveland, Ohio Zoning Ordinance Bans MMJ Operations in ‘95%’ of City

The Cleveland, Ohio City Council has approved new zoning requirements ahead of the state implementing the medical cannabis regime that limits the location of dispensaries, and grow, research and production sites, according to a Cleveland.com report. The measure, approved 15-1, will prevent industry operations in about 95 percent of the city.

The regulations prohibit medical cannabis operations within 500 feet of a church, school, public park, public playground, or public library; allowing businesses to only operate on property zoned as a general retail district or one of three industrial property designations. Any property zoned for retail businesses, or as residential will not be available to industry operators.

Despite the near-unanimous vote to approve the restrictions, at least one councilor indicated concern that the rules would limit access to medical cannabis for many residents if the industry was pushed entirely into the suburbs.

“Medical marijuana is happening,” said Ward 3 Councilor Kerry McCormack, in the report. “If the closest access to this for medicinal use … is in Independence, for example, I know a lot of my residents won’t be able to get there.”

The approved zoning rules are actually less imposing than they could have been – the original legislation, introduced by Councilwoman Dona Brady, would have included a 1,000-foot buffer around all residential property in the city. However, City Planning Director Freddy Collier said that would have effectively banned the industry from the city entirely.

Regulators will begin accepting dispensary applications on Nov. 3; private testing laboratory applications on Nov. 27; and processer applications on Dec. 4. The 24 cultivator licenses are expected to be announced sometime next month.

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