- Michael Cooper Staff Writer
Sixteen companies sought to apply for 20 different medical marijuana dispensaries in Springfield last month, nearly two months after the city ended its temporary moratorium on those businesses.
Clark, Champaign and Union counties have been allotted a total of two dispensaries — essentially a retail store where medical marijuana will be distributed — according to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.
Of the 20 sites for which applications were filled out with the city of Springfield’s zoning department throughout the state process, only 10 in Clark County, including eight with proposed sites in Springfield, showed up on the final list released by the control program last month. Those 10 dispensary sites will compete with two sites in Union County and another in Champaign County for the two slots in the three-county region.
The proposed locations are spread across the city, including the East Main Street, Bechtle Avenue, South Limestone Street and Derr Road shopping corridors, according to public records. It’s unclear why some applicants may not have decided to move forward with the process, said Stephen Thompson, Springfield Planning, Zoning and Code Enforcement Administrator.
Many of the companies also applied to open dispensaries in other nearby counties, records showed. One company, Pure Ohio Wellness, LLC, was selected by the program last week to operate one of the state’s 12 large-scale grow operations, in Mad River Twp.
Renea Murnahan-Turner, the chief executive officer of Cannabis for Cures, LLC at 42 N. Fountain Ave., initially applied for a dispensary but said her application wasn’t processed because allegedly she didn’t include electronic versions of her application. That wasn’t on an application checklist, she said, but was listed online.
“I was surprised we got that many and so many non-local applicants,” Thompson said. “I thought we would have more interest locally. … It’s a positive thing if they think there’s a market for it here.”
The form solely says the proposed location fits the city zoning code, Thompson said. The city didn’t receive any applications for growing or cultivation operations, he said.
Turner recently sued the state of Ohio, state agencies and state officials, claiming they’re not enforcing the new medical marijuana laws fairly. She expects more lawsuits to be filed over the next few years, she said.
“There’s going to be a ton of them,” Turner said.
Springfield is a central location between Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus, which makes it an attractive site, Turner said.
“It’s a quick stop and pretty well centralized to a lot of areas,” Turner said.
In August of 2016, city commissioners placed a six-month temporary ban on new medical marijuana-related businesses, which came after Gov. John Kasich signed a bill in 2016 making cannabis legal in Ohio for medical use. That moratorium lasted until the end of September of this year.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Springfield medical marijuana ban ends, area gets 2 dispensaries
Earlier this year, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program and the State Board of Ohio Pharmacy announced a total of 60 dispensaries will be allowed in four different regions throughout Ohio, including 15 in southwestern Ohio. Last month, the state announced more than 370 applied for those 60 dispensaries.
Dispensary owners must pay a $5,000 application fee, a $70,000 certificate of operation fee and have $250,000 in the bank to cover operating expenses.
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