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Some Huron residents concerned about possible medical marijuana dispensary near school

Posted at 5:41 PM, Jan 23, 2018

A Huron City Council meeting is expected to be packed Tuesday night as concerns about a possible medical marijuana dispensary grow. 

Ohio Patients’ Choice wants to invest $2 million into a dispensary where a vacant Burger King now sits near the intersection of Cleveland Rd W. and Rye Beach Rd. The state has not yet announced recipients of dispensary licenses. OPC is already beginning construction on a nearby large cultivation center. 

The proposed dispensary location concerns some Huron residents because it is close to a school. 

“I’m not sure that anybody really thought about that this is the entrance for the drop off and pick-up zone for the kids at our intermediate school,” said Tony Legando, a longtime teacher and coach in the area. 

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control program stipulates a retail dispensary is prohibited from being located within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground, public park or community addiction services. OPC’s possible dispensary meets that requirement. 

“We hear the concern and understand it,” said Jeff McCourt, OPC Project Manager. However, McCourt is quick to point out that there is also a bar near the school. 

Legando says he wishes the city had been more transparent about plans for a dispensary. 

“We should be getting a lot of communication about this. There should be fliers sent out, surveys send out,” he said. “That just hasn’t been the case and that’s concerning to me.” 

Huron City Manager Andy White admits plans for the dispensary developed quickly and it was a private-to-private transaction, unlike the land for cultivation facility. 

“The process, it was fast, and I think that’s helped confuse the issue,” said White. 

White and OPC hope to answer some questions at the city council meeting Tuesday night. McCourt plans to present with Q & A to follow. 

The meeting was moved to McCormick School to accommodate for the large crowd. It starts at 6:30 p.m. 

The State Board of Pharmacy may award up to 60 dispensary licenses in the spring. Erie, Huron, Richland and Ashland Counties make up one district where two dispensaries are allowed. Five dispensaries are allowed in Cuyahoga County.