The Council voted March 6 to endorse the first application for a medical marijuana dispensary.
Darrin Farrow, of Westlake and head of Green Mile Enterprises, plans to apply for licenses to grow, process and distribute medical marijuana to patients with qualifying conditions.
Although, companies don’t need the city’s approval to obtain a license, the endorsement from the city would increase Green Mile’s score on the state’s grading scale, Mayor Holly Brinda said.
A location for the potential dispensary has yet to be determined, Farrow said during the meeting.
“We have several locations we are considering that we will share at the next Council meeting,” said Farrow, which is March 20.
Brinda said the possibility of endorsing applicants is an important issue for officials and citizens.
“We are learning,” she said. “What we are learning is that some of this is a leap of faith. There isn’t a full body of evidence in all of these areas, but there is substantial evidence so much so that the state of Ohio took the leap in terms of legalizing it.”
Ward 7 Councilman Jack Cerra was concerned about how much revenue Elyria could see with a dispensary.
State taxing has not yet been decided, but the dispensary could bring in about $3.8 million a year to Elyria, according to Brinda.
Councilman Thomas Callahan raised the question of how a dispensary effects law enforcement.
“In the past, where your companies have done this in other states, has it caused any stress or any additional work on law enforcement?” Callahan asked.
There has been no additional work by law enforcement, but police are encouraged to be a part of the dispensary to know what is going on, Steve Paroby of Green Mile Enterprises said.
Police Chief Duane Whitely, once an opponent, said he did research by calling police departments in New York and Illinois to see how crime panned out after a dispensary was placed.
Whitely said he believes crime will not increase in Elyria due to a dispensary.
Eight of 11 Council members voted for the endorsement. Ward 1 Councilman Larry Tanner voted against the endorsement.
In mid-May, Green Mile will apply for its first license to cultivate, following will be a processor license and then the retail dispensary, according to Farrow.
“We anticipate all licenses and applications will be submitted to the city between May and September,” he said. “All licenses we assume will be awarded by the last quarter of this year.”