Eastlake moves forward with medical marijuana plans, residents divided

Medical marijuana
Posted at 3:19 PM, Mar 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-17 17:40:49-04

From community center to marijuana manufacturer? Eastlake City Council unanimously approved the sale of the city's old JFK Senior Center for a potential 50-thousand square foot medical marijuana cultivation center.

Katie Bitonti told News 5 she would have a front row seat to the greenhouse.

"We are pretty close," she said.

Bitonti lives in one of the homes in view of the land just approved for sale by Eastlake City Council.

RELATED: Eastlake considers pot plant on vacant community land

She said it's the talk of the neighborhood, but in her opinion, it's not a good idea.

"There's kids in the area. Kids dropped off her. I think it could bring crime," she said.

Eastlake's Mayor, Dennis Morely, was out of the office Friday, but when News 5 checked in with him a few months ago, when the city first released this plan, he said: "They'll be no smell, no burning. Basically, they'll have a greenhouse and they will extract serum from plants."

Morely said the plant would be a good move for a city that's struggling financially.

"We're not the most healthy city financially and everyone who lives here knows that," he explained. 

The plant is expected to bring 30 jobs year one, potentially 50 years two. Plus, the fees associated with the business.

Eastlake police are on board. And the city has held a few public meetings to inform residents and give people an open place to voice concerns. 

Bitonti hasn't been to a meeting but told News 5, she hopes the there are more opportunities for people who live here to voice their opinions, especially since the plan is moving forward. 

"Consider the community and where it is," she said. "There's a lot of families around and people probably don't want it around their kids."

The company that's applied for a state license to bring its operations to Eastlake, won't have their answer until this September.