President’s Page: The 411 On 420 In 44107

Image credit Julia Teichmann via Pixabay

Hi Neighbors! Cheeky headlines aside, I know many folks have been wondering about adult-use, or recreational cannabis sales in Lakewood, so I thought I’d…uh…clear the air.

The short answer is that the City of Lakewood is ready for business!

June 3rd – Lakewood City Council passed Ordinance 42-2023 which allows for the permitting of adult-use dispensaries.

June 6th – Lakewood’s citizen-led Planning Commission heard the first two applications for mixed-use distribution from the two current medical marijuana dispensaries.

June 7th – the State of Ohio’s Division of Cannabis Control (DCC) began accepting applications for mixed-use licenses.

September 7th – deadline for the DCC to issue provisional licenses. All Ohio adult-use dispensaries must have a license from the DCC to operate legally. 

You may recall hearing about a temporary moratorium on adult-use dispensary licenses in Lakewood. You may also recall that immediately after Issue 2’s passage, Republicans at the Statehouse introduced two bills to repeal or drastically alter the law. Unlike Issue 1 which placed language into the Charter, Issue 2 placed Chapter 3780 into the Ohio Revised Code, which state legislators can amend at any time through the legislative process. Additionally, Chapter 3780 created the State of Ohio Division of Cannabis Control (DCC) and gave them until August 7th to create the rules, regulations, and safeguards necessary to license adult-use marijuana dispensaries, processors, and cultivators. Lakewood passed our temporary moratorium to express our intention to wait to begin local permits until July or the finalization of DCC regulations, whichever came first.

To make sure that we would be ready as soon as the state would allow, in December 2023, now Vice President Jason Shachner and I introduced a package of legislation with a majority of our colleagues to update our criminal code, zoning and potential licensing. We have been diligently collaborating with the administration ever since to make sure that we could be ready for this moment and to respond to the 80% of Lakewood voters who supported Issue 2.

In May, after months of work, Lakewood City Council passed Ordinance 40-2023 “de-criminalizing” possession in alignment with Chapter 3780 while also clarifying our local expectations to keep consumption out of public settings such as parks, sidewalks and restaurant patios. In June, we passed the above-mentioned Ordinance 42-2023, repealing the moratorium and establishing permitting of adult-use.

So there you have it folks. Lakewood is once again leading the way and is positioned to be one of the first northeast Ohio suburbs ready to welcome adult-use sales. Our neighbors will be green with envy.

Sarah Kepple

President Sarah Kepple serves all residents as Lakewood City Councilmember at Large. Reach her at sarah.kepple@lakewoodoh.net or 216.200.5050. 

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Volume 20, Issue 12, Posted 1:36 AM, 06.19.2024