In about seven minutes, plans to grow and process medical marijuana in German Township were dashed.
During the Monday, June 12 council meeting, the German Township Trustees opted not to reconsider their May 8 resolution which banned the cultivation, processing, or sale of medical marijuana in the township.
The state legislature approved legalizing marijuana for medical use in September 2016.
The Ohio Department of Commerce will accept applications from investors for 12 large-scale and 12 smallscale growing operations in the state this month.
Martha Hackett, an Archbold native and physician, and her son Oscar proposed building a $4.5-million greenhouse and processing facility on family-owned land in the vicinity of Co. Rds. G and 24.
There were about a dozen people in the audience, which opened with a presentation by Steve Lange, township zoning inspector.
After Lange’s presentation, Bruce Lauber, president of the trustees, read from a prepared statement advising the audience the trustees were not “here to debate whether cannabis (the scientific name of marijuana) is a miracle drug or a gateway drug, nor whether it is giving our township, region, or state a good or a bad name.”
Lauber said medical marijuana is coming to Ohio, “but we need to determine whether we’re going to allow it– grant permission– here in German Township.”
Kenneth “Skip” Leupp, a trustee, said, “I would not oppose it (cannabis) as the Hacketts presented it.
“I couldn’t not justify giving the 52,000 residents of the county the sales tax this is going to generate, or the citizens of the township the $50,000-a-year the Hacketts have proposed (giving the township) in lieu of a property tax levy. So that’s my justification for not opposing it,” Leupp said.
Randy Ruffer, a trustee, said he had checked with a number of people about the proposal.
“Every person I’ve come in contact with, I’ve been asking to find out where they stood on it, what they felt as far as our community.
“I’ve had two people give this a kind of a maybe. Everyone else has been very negative,” Ruffer said.
He said he had talked to people about the potential for medical marijuana to generate a lot of money, “but that’s not important. They just didn’t want that to happen in our community. So I’m going to vote ‘no.’”
Ruffer said there still are a lot of things he doesn’t know, and that members of the Multi-Area Narcotics Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional anti-drug law enforcement group, had spoken “loud and clear that they believe it will send the wrong message, but it’s going to happen, so what do we do?
“The bottom line: do we really want to change the complexion of our community? And from what I’m observing, and from the people that have spoken to me, that’s a no.”
Lauber said it looked like he was the deciding vote, although no formal vote was taken.
He said at the beginning, he was opposed to any cultivation of cannabis in the township, but after hearing from the Hacketts and doing “a lot of research,” his opinion softened.
“However,” Lauber said, “I have to listen to the general public and see what they say.
“I’ve had former police officers, former deputy sheriffs, just people all over… I’ve had people from foreign countries call me that are living outside the states.
“Personally, I’m not opposed to cannabis as medical marijuana. However, I have got to listen to the residents of German Township, and for that, I will let the resolution stand as-is.”
There were a couple of “thank yous” from the crowd, and a brief round of applause.