Trustees voted unanimously Monday to prohibit medical marijuana cultivators, processors, and retail dispensaries from locating in Orange Township.

Genoa and Liberty townships approved resolutions earlier this year that will prevent cultivators, processors, and retail dispensaries of medical marijuana from operating within the unincorporated territory of the townships. The City of Powell also passed a measure to prohibit establishments related to medical marijuana.

Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program and the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy will start accepting applications for dispensaries online from Nov. 3-17, according to the program website.

“On Nov. 3 they’ll be able to apply for a license for the zone,” said Trustee Rob Quigley. “What this entails is the fact that there are certain zones within Ohio that the legislation is allowing the licensing of dispensaries. There are three per zone and Delaware County is in one of those zones.”

Quigley said that Delaware County is located in a zone with Licking, Knox, and Morrow counties that could allow up to three medical marijuana dispensaries.

“Depending on whether or not the township has passed a prohibition or had a zoning restriction, it will determine the faith of those licenses,” Quigley said. “If we don’t prohibit it, in general, it is restricted within 500 yards of a park, a school district, so we wanted to get a map to look at that.”

Township Administrator Lee Bodnar said the map showed “quite an abundance” of areas along US 23 where dispensaries could be established if zoning or a prohibition was not in place.

“I guess that is where you would see the activity should the township allow dispensaries,” he said.

“I don’t see any benefit to having it here at all, I see zero,” said Trustee Lisa Knapp. “It’s a cash business, you’re talking potential thieves and armed robberies and things like that. We don’t get any taxes from it and I just don’t see a benefit in having here at all.”

Trustees invited Delaware General Helth District Commissioner Sheila Hiddleson to speak about the new law allowing medical marijuana.

“We do, as a health district and a board, have concerns about the adverse health effects of marijuana, we don’t want this to fall into the hands of children,” Hiddleson said. “It needs to regulated appropriately.”

According to data presented by the Health District, 30 percent of the teenagers surveyed — middle school to high school age — used marijuana in the last 30 days with the average user being 14 years old.

Hiddleson said the worry from the Health District standpoint is, “with more marijuana that’s available, do we see these numbers go up and what is the long-term effect?”

By D. Anthony Botkin

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D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.