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Up in smoke: North Canton votes against allowing marijuana businesses in community

NORTH CANTON − Marijuana dispensaries aren't welcome in the Dogwood City.

City Council voted 4-3 on Monday to ban them from the community.

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Mayor Stephan Wilder is expected to sign the legislation, which takes effect in 30 days.

North Canton joins at least 61 other Ohio municipalities that have approved moratoriums prohibiting adult-use cannabis businesses as of June 13, according to the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. The law school has been tracking the issue statewide as communities decide whether to permit such businesses after Ohio voters approved allowing recreational marijuana last fall. 

The four council members who voted to ban marijuana dispensaries were council President Matthew Stroia, Melissa Owens, Jamie McCleaster and Stephanie Werren. Christina Weyrick, Dave Metheney and John Orr voted against the ban.

Orr asked why people who need cannabis for medicinal purposes have to leave the city to buy it.

"I think we're making a big mistake," he said.

Metheney said the city could allow marijuana dispensaries but also require that they pay licensing fees and following zoning and signage rules.

Stroia said that Metheney had taken issue with the city regulating businesses but Metheney was himself suggesting regulations.

Owens argued that the vote by the city's voters last November was very split on approving recreational marijuana. She thought it was better the city take a "pause" before agreeing to allow marijuana dispensaries.

Weyrick said the city years ago banned tattoo parlors. And she knows a woman who had to move her tattoo business to Plain Township, where Weyrick said it is thriving. She said bans against types of businesses such as marijuana dispensaries don't help boost the city's economy.

"Being dry has not served us as well. Not allowing microblading of eyebrows has not served as well," she said.

McCleaster said he was not supportive of allowing dispensaries as long as the state legislature delayed passing legislation deciding how much cities could tax dispensaries.

Stroia said he did not want to allow the sale of a drug in North Canton that was unregulated, especially in terms of THC content



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