Eastlake is moving forward with plans to put a medical marijuana cultivation plant where the old community center used to be.
Months in the works, city council unanimously approved a licensing ordinance for Medical Marijuana Cultivating and Processing on Wednesday. For a city that's struggled financially, Mayor Dennis Morley told News 5 the cultivation plant could be a solution.
"We've had our financial issues," Morley said. "It's always, 'Oh, Eastlake this.' You know what? It's Eastlake this! We are pioneers working to bring medical marijuana to the state of Ohio."
The planned location at 33505 Curtis Boulevard has been vacant for 15 years. Pot would be grown in the plant, not sold. (Story continues below map)
"This is the opportunity for Eastlake to be at the forefront of something," Morley said.
"House Bill 523, effective on September 8, 2016, legalizes medical marijuana in Ohio. The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program will allow people with certain medical conditions, upon the recommendation of an Ohio-licensed physician certified by the State Medical Board, to purchase and use medical marijuana." Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program
The license alone would earn Eastlake $25,000 dollars yearly, according to the mayor, plus bring 30 to 50 new jobs to the community. Some Eastlake residents are supportive.
"It's great if it's medical marijuana to help people. I hear a lot of people say it's a bad thing, but I don't think so," Bob Chesas said.
But the neighborhood just feet from where the plant would be built is a neighborhood divided. Not everyone wants a front row seat on marijuana cultivation.
"I think it's terrible. I think it's awful," Lorie Poploske said. "It's right in my backyard. When my kids were little they used to play back there and now they're gonna have a marijuana field back there."
Under the law, Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program must be fully operational no later than September 2018.
Buckeye Relief is the company that has applied for a state license to bring its operations to Eastlake. But it won't know whether it can set up shop until this fall. September 8 is the deadline for the three state agencies that make up the Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program to lay out the framework for medical marijuana in Ohio. There will a maximum of 14 cultivation sites allowed in Ohio.