Where can you grow medical pot in Cincinnati?

CINCINNATI – Budding Ohio entrepreneurs looking for a home to launch their medical marijuana ventures may have plenty of options to choose from in Cincinnati.

A memo sent to city leaders this week outlines where certain medical pot facilities would be allowed to operate under the city’s current zoning regulations.

In September, Ohio joined the more than two dozen states that have legal marijuana laws on their books. Since then, state regulators have been crafting the rules for how the newly legal drug can be grown, processed and sold to eligible patients.

The law, which is expected to be fully in place by September 2018, places some limits on where the new operations can be located. For example, marijuana-related businesses must be more than 500 feet away from schools, churches, day cares, public parks and playgrounds.

Beyond that, communities can decide what other restrictions they want in place. Across the state, a number of communities have put moratoriums or altogether banned the businesses from opening.

But that’s not the case so far in Cincinnati, unless City Council decides otherwise soon.

Starting June 6, Ohio will begin accepting the first round of applications from those vying to land one of nearly two dozen business licenses available to grow medical marijuana.

Related: Meet some of the people who might become Ohio’s first legal marijuana farmers.

Those applying need sign-offs from the community in which they plan to operate – affirming that their plans meet local zoning requirements. 

“(T)he administration has received numerous inquiries whether the City of Cincinnati will allow the cultivation of medical marijuana and in what zoning districts,” Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black wrote in a memo to council members this week. "(T)he administration intends to supply verification letters consistent with this determination unless the council signifies an intent to pursue a different policy direction.”

Here’s a look at which zoning districts would allow certain types of marijuana-related ventures:

Medical Marijuana Group

Proposed Zoning District Designation

Cultivator (“Farming” uses)

Manufacturing Agricultural (MA) Riverfront Residential (RF-R) Single-Family (SF) – SF 20, SF 10, SF 6

Processor
(“General Production” uses)

Manufacturing General (MG) Manufacturing Limited (ML) Manufacturing Exclusive (ME)

Testing Laboratories (“Laboratory” uses)

Office Limited (OL) – conditional Office General (OG) Manufacturing Limited (ML) Manufacturing General (MG)

Dispensaries (“Retail” uses– aka pharmacies)

Commercial Districts (CN, CC, CG) Downtown Development District (DD) Urban Mix District (UM) Manufacturing Districts (ML, MG) T5MS (Main Street) T5N.LS-O/T5N.SS-O (Neighborhood) T5F (Flex)

T6 (Core)

Source: City of Cincinnati

In his memo, Black noted one temporary change he's recommending the council consider: He wants a one-year moratorium on any proposed medical marijuana facility within the city’s single-family and residential multi-family zoning districts.

Across Ohio, a number of communities have put bans or moratoriums in place in recent months. A meeting is set for July 11 for leaders in Sharonville to consider a ban on all medical-marijuana related operations.

Black also recommended amending city laws relating to drug paraphernalia by decriminalizing the use and possession of medical marijuana within city limits. Currently, the offense is a first degree misdemeanor.

Ordinances proposing changes are expected to come before council in the next two weeks.

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