Part 3 – The Portager

With the passage of Issue 2 in November 2023, municipalities across the state have enacted a wide range of regulations for recreational and medical marijuana cultivation facilities.

This is the final part of a three-part series from The Portager looking at how each community in Portage County is dealing with the changes. The post on northern Portage County appeared on June 26, and the one on the county’s central communities appeared on July 3. This post covers the county’s southern communities.

Brimfield Township in August 2019, it limited medical marijuana dispensaries to integrated commercial, light industrial and heavy industrial districts, but also stipulated that these facilities must comply with “all future and/or federal guidelines.”

Brimfield Executive Director Holly Woods said community leaders are relying on the county’s Regional Planning Commission to study and recommend how to proceed with recreational marijuana legislation.

Once those recommendations are in, the Brimfield Zoning Commission will make its own recommendations, hold public hearings and trustees will take a final vote, she said.

Rootstown Township Trustees recently approved a six-month moratorium on all types of recreational marijuana cultivation facilities. The idea is to give the township’s planning commission time to work out its recommendations, said Trustee Dave McIntyre.

The township does not prohibit medical marijuana facilities, Trustee Joe Paulus said.

Edinburgh Municipality There are no moratoriums or outright bans on marijuana establishments, medical or adult use. Edinburg trustees want to see what actually happens with other municipalities’ resolutions before moving forward with their own moratoriums or bans, said Township Administrator Chris Diehl.

“The municipality has little power to prohibit certain things,” he said. “It’s almost impossible for us. In the past, our attempts to restrict certain things were always rejected by the courts, so it was difficult for the municipalities to specifically abolish something.”

The trustees also want to see what rules and regulations the state Division of Cannabis Control will enact.

“If the state gives us some leeway to regulate it and put it where we think is the best place, that’s one thing. We already have commercial zones, so if someone wants to open a business, they have to be in a commercial zone. Other than that, I’m not sure how much regulation we can do,” Diehl said.

Palmyra Municipality has not taken a position on marijuana facilities of any kind, said Trustee Megan Coss.

Suffield Township Trustees banned the cultivation, dispensing and processing of medical marijuana in 2016. Township leaders are currently considering what to do about recreational marijuana, said Treasurer Lori Calcei.

Randolph Community Trustees have not addressed medical and/or recreational facilities at this time. The board wants to see what the state finalizes first and what enforceable actions municipalities can take, said Finance Officer Mary Rodenbucher.

Atwater Community The trustees passed a resolution in November 2023 prohibiting operators from selling recreational cannabis and cultivating, processing and dispensing medical marijuana.

“The trustees felt there were so many questions left about it that we thought this was the best way forward for our small community,” said Trustee Thora Green. “There wasn’t much discussion. We passed it unanimously. We thought it was in the best interest of the community.”

The community leadership has not spoken of revisiting the matter at this time, she added.

Deerfield Township has not regulated medical or recreational marijuana, but Trustee Charles “Ed” Dean said he intends to address the issue at an upcoming board meeting.

The village of Mogadore has no official stance on medical marijuana facilities of any kind.

The council approved a six-month moratorium on the cultivation, processing, distribution and sale of cannabis for recreational purposes on December 6, 2023, but allowed the ban to expire in June.

The idea behind it, according to the now-expired law, was to give village officials time to review state and municipal laws and to give the municipal commission time to develop local regulations.

The council has now decided to adhere to state guidelines and regulations, even though they have not yet been finalized, said Mayor Mike Rick.

Whatever the state decides, Mogadore’s rules will not be stricter, he added.

Wendy DiAlesandro is a former reporter for Record Publishing Co. and a contributing writer for The Portager.