Marijuana in Ohio; ‘Unforced Error’ at YSU

Ohio voters approved Issue 2 – the recreational use of marijuana – 57% to 43% in the Nov. 7 election. Dan O’Brien, managing editor of The Business Journal, provided insights into the new law and how it will affect businesses. The law is “much more employer-friendly than other states,” says labor attorney Michael Karst.

O’Brien also guided us through the aftermath of the passage of Issue 2 in this week’s episode of “Byline Breakdown.”

Meanwhile, the fallout continued over the selection of U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson as the 10th president of Youngstown State University. Tom Maraffa, a professor emeritus at YSU, wrote in a commentary that the YSU Board of Trustees’ decision was an “unforced error.” 

“The board of trustees has every right to follow the process it did and hire Johnson. He will report directly to the board and serve at its pleasure,” Maraffa wrote. “However, as the adage goes, ‘Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.’”

Eleven former YSU trustees took issue with the way the current board of trustees conducted its presidential search and expressed concerns about the university’s future and its role in the region. 

Others who sought to express their concerns didn’t get the opportunity. Those attending the YSU trustees’ regular meeting Thursday – some carrying signs denouncing Johnson – weren’t permitted to speak.

Amid the backlash, a plan is being developed for YSU leadership during the time between interim President Helen K. Lafferty’s Dec. 31 departure and when Johnson is sworn in as president.

And, finally, from the Journal Opinion in our December issue: “YSU is the shining star in our community and we cannot afford for YSU to lose its luster. Should Johnson and the trustees stick with their decision, their first task must be to restore trust.”

Here’s a look at those stories and other top stories this week from

Cannabis Still Can Get You Fired from Your Job in Ohio

Terrell Washington, owner and founder of Leaf Relief, a medical marijuana dispensary on Market Street in Youngstown.

Employers across the Buckeye State navigating the waters in the wake of Ohio’s passage of Issue 2 – the recreational use of marijuana – may find there would be few, if any, changes to their workplace policies as the law rolls out.

That’s because, unlike other states, the law in Ohio is written in a way that allows plenty of flexibility for employers to either test for the substance or opt not to test, says Michael Karst, a labor attorney who represents management at Kastner, Westman & Wilkins, a law firm in Akron. READ

Public Prohibited from Speaking at YSU Trustees Meeting

Michael Peterson, YSU trustees chairman, speaks to the media Thursday.

Members of the public were told they would be able to speak Thursday at the Youngstown State University trustees’ regular meeting regarding the board’s selection of U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson as president.

They weren’t. Instead, the trustees permitted three people to speak at their governance committee meeting Wednesday. READ

Attorneys Seek Permission to Withdraw as Chill Can Counsel

In an unexpected twist, attorneys representing the developer of the beleaguered Chill Can project have filed motions asking they be withdrawn as its legal counsel.

Attorneys Brian Kopp and Justin Markota of Betras, Kopp and Markota LLC on Dec. 6 filed motions asking a Mahoning County Common Pleas court and the 7th District Court of Appeals for permission to withdraw as counsel for M.J. Joseph Development Corp. READ

Columbiana County Oil Boom Shows No Signs of Slowing

Horizontal wells operating in Columbiana County during the third quarter have shattered oil production records in this tier of the Utica/Point Pleasant shale formation, according to data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

During the third quarter, the 138 producing wells in the county yielded a total of 352,354 barrels of oil during the period ended Sept. 30, according to ODNR. READ

MVMC Caps Off Successful 2023 by Highlighting Accomplishments

Jessica Borza, MVMC executive director.

The Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition closed on a successful 2023, as many of its programs witnessed significant gains in impact across the region.

The organization highlighted these accomplishments during its annual meeting, held at DoubleBogey’s in Boardman on Thursday. READ

Other Top Stories

Commentary: YSU Board Committed Unforced Error
Former YSU Trustees ‘Share the Concern’ Over Presidential Search
Journal Opinion: YSU Trustees Caused the Uproar
YSU Leadership Transition Plan Being Developed
With Goal of Expansion, JAC Management Promotes 2 Executives
Builders Association Reports $1.7B in Project Volume
Prosecutor’s Office Appeals to YSU Honors Students
Smarts Launches Library with Donated Art Book Collection
BBB to Offer On-Demand Courses for Accredited Members
Columbiana County Port Authority to Issue $4.5M in Bonds
Shop Local: Girard Shop Pedals Bikes
Column: Should You/Can You Sell B2B Online?
New Vehicle Sales in Valley Improve in November


Technology Assists Independent Living
Coating Company Boasts Rapid Growth
Flashback Minis: Strouss’ & McKelvey’s Holiday Storefront Displays
From Recovery to Recognition: Celebrating Transformational Graduations at Flying High and NEOCC
Smarts Holiday Open House Shows Growth
A Revenge Comedy Opens at Hopewell Theatre
How Experts Handle Cybersecurity Threats
MVMC Sees Strong Outlook for Manufacturing
Marijuana and Malware: Ohio Businesses Face New Realities in Drug Policy and Digital Security

Click HERE to sign up for The Business Journal’s daily and weekly newsletters.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.