Economic Development

City OKs Waiver for Medical Marijuana Dispensary

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Members of the City Planning Commission recommended a waiver for one medical marijuana dispensary project but deferred action on the request for another company.

Hanging Gardens OH LLC received approval from the city for the waiver for its site, 3114 South Ave., the former McDonough’s bar. The company sought the waiver because its site is within 500 feet of other regulated uses, including Teenie’s Tavern, A. Griffith Tattoo Shop and the closed Ally Market.

The dispensary would have 15 to 25 employees, said Ethan Moon of Brookline, Mass., one of the four partners. The partners now manufacture processing equipment for the medical marijuana industry and want to expand into distribution.

The dispensary would have 24-hour video surveillance as well as on-site personnel during operating hours, which are expected to be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Moon said.

Anyone entering the site would have to have a “doctors’ finding” or prescription, to gain entry. After being checked at the first door, the prospective purchaser’s identification would again be checked in a separate chamber before being permitted to enter the dispensary.

“You don’t get in without a prescription,” Moon said.

The commission voted to defer action on the second medical marijuana dispensary waiver on its agenda, for Mahoning Valley Distributors LLC, 890 E. Midlothian Blvd. The dispensary is in a former bank building not far from the Utopia nightclub.

Attorney Justin Markota, representing Mahoning Valley Distributors, said the dispensary plans to open in September with 10 to 15 employees. None of the businesses partners were able to attend, but he said partners have met with city zoning officials.

The committee members deferred action to get more information, including about security for the operation, which the attorney was unable to provide at yesterday’s meeting.

“I know they intend to have adequate security personnel on staff,” Markota said. Though he did not have specifics on hand, he said security is one of the issues outlined in the state requirements for dispensaries.

Diana Struble, a resident of the neighborhood, presented the commission with a list of neighbors who, along with her, oppose the waiver. They live behind the property in question and are concerned about break-ins by people looking for drugs, she said.

Both Hanging Gardens and Mahoning Valley Distributors have filed applications with the state of Ohio to obtain dispensary licenses, the representatives said.

The Ohio Department of Commerce has not set a timetable for awarding those licenses.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.