As medical marijuana makes its debut in Cleveland, city leaders to explore recreational marijuana

Posted at 8:44 AM, Jul 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-03 18:46:02-04

With medical marijuana available in Ohio in just a few months, Cleveland City Councilman Blaine Griffin says it's time to explore what's next for recreational marijuana in Cleveland. 

"We want to make sure that whatever we do is fair," said Councilman Griffin.

He's proposing a working group, bringing together law enforcement with city departments to work through the red tape.

"We believe it's time for us to start having that discussion and seeing if it might be the right thing to do in the city of Cleveland," said Griffin.

Students at the Cleveland School of Cannabis learn about what it takes to work in the medical marijuana industry, while they wait for the state program to get off the ground.

He says there's property zoning that would have to change and other rules the city would want to form, making the new industry beneficial for everyone.

The Ohio Legislature or a ballot initiative is needed to legalize marijuana, but even long before that will happen, 12 of Cleveland's 17 council members are on the resolution to form the group.

"Lots of other council people have had the same conversations that I've had with their residents," said Griffin. "We need to get out of the dark ages with this."

A poster at the Cleveland School of Cannabis, where students learn about the industry that will soon be legal in Ohio.

Ohio's medical marijuana program is supposed to be active in September. Legal experts say it's too early to know what kind of impact a recreational program would have, but it would likely have some kind of effect.

"We have seen in other states that typically when an adult use program is implemented, it does affect the medical market and lead to a reduction in sales in the medical market," said Lawyer Tom Haren, who represents businesses in the medical marijuana industry.

Haren says it's because legal recreational marijuana businesses would also carry some of the same products used for medical purposes. In a recreational marijuana shop, there would be fewer hoops to jump through.

"A patient doesn't necessarily need to go to see a doctor and then go buy a product at a dispensary," said Haren.