On February 7, City Council voted 6-1 in favor of extending the current six month moratorium for another six months. Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw cast the only dissenting vote, stating that he felt the moratorium should be a year.
Last June, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 523 into law, making Ohio the 25th state to adopt a medical marijuana law. House Bill 523 passed by the Ohio House of Representatives last May 10, then passed in the Ohio Senate on May 24. The bill revises the Ohio Revised Code, authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes only and establishes a Medical Marijuana Control Program in the State’s Department of Commerce and the State Board of Pharmacy. The department will provide for the licensing of cultivators, processors and test laboratories of medical marijuana, as well as regulate and administer the program. The Board will provide for the licensing of retail dispensaries and patient/caregiver registration. A Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee has been created in the State Board of Pharmacy, consisting of pharmacists, physicians, law enforcement, and others, who will develop recommendations on the program and implementation to the Department of Commerce and State Board of Pharmacy. This will take place before June, 2017.
House Bill 523 defines medical marijuana as “marijuana that is cultivated, processed, dispensed, tested, possessed, or used for a medical purpose.” The qualifying medical conditions that qualify for marijuana use include: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Alzheimer’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Cancer, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, Crohn’s Disease, Epilepsy or another seizure disorder, Fibromyalgia, Glaucoma, Hepatitis C, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Multiple Sclerosis. It also includes pain that is either of the following: Chronic and severe, Intractable, Parkinson’s disease, Positive status for HIV, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Sickle Cell Anemia, Spinal Cord Disease or injury, Tourette’s Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, Ulcerative Colitis and any other disease or condition added by the state medical board under section 4731.302 of the Ohio Revised Code.
The Ohio law took effect last September, but was set to roll out from that point, to September of this year. With that, local communities had been placing a moratorium on that law, in order to review it and see how it may impact their communities. North Royalton did the same, and introduced a measure placing a moratorium on the bill, in order to allow city leaders and the city’s law department, opportune time to research the bill and its potential impact on the city.
Council President Larry Antoskiewicz said that since the current moratorium will be expiring and the word from the state is that the information on the rules and regulations won’t be available until September, he felt another six months should be added. “The state should have all plans finalized, so we can look at all the information and deal with this issue.” Langshaw said that with the state and possible federal legislation regarding marijuana, he felt that a year would be more prudent.
The ordinance that was adopted amends the original ordinance, that was adopted on September 6, 2016. The ordinance places an additional six month moratorium “on the granting of permits for medical marijuana-related businesses in the City of North Royalton to allow Council time to accomplish the city’s goals and help ensure the public peace, health, safety, and welfare of its citizens.” The original ordinance was set to expire on March 5. With the new ordinance, it is now extended to September 6, 2017.

Contributing Writer