Another community rejects marijuana business

SUMMMITVILLE — The village is not open for business when it comes to medical marijuana.

Following a lengthy round of discussions, Summitville council decided to pass a law prohibiting the cultivation, processing or retail dispensing of medical marijuana in the village.

The village is not the first in the county to pass such a law following the state’s legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The city of Columbiana passed similar legislation in January.

Before voting, Summitville council heard from Salineville Police Chief Matt Devlin, who encouraged the prohibition.

“It is a gateway drug. I am in the business of not liking drugs, that is my business,” Devlin said.

He added that he is not pleased with the lack of data available for the medicinal use, and pointed out that despite being allowed by the state, medicinal marijuana is still considered illegal under federal law.

Federal law does not recognize the difference between medicinal and recreational marijuana, and it is treated like any other controlled substance.

Devlin was asked by Mayor Fred May to speak to council, which had been on the fence about the issue and wanted more information.

“It’s just going to be one more drug that people sell. If they aren’t using it they are going to sell to make a little bit of extra money. That is what is going on with the pill issues and the opioid issues that we are experiencing,” Devlin said.

He also wondered what would happen to the money generated through medical marijuana.

“Any monies that are generated can’t be put into the bank because it’s against federal law to sell those types of drugs. I don’t foresee anybody getting any major monies,” he said.

He went on to say that yet another issue is the possibility that any growing or retail facilities could attract people to the area that may not normally be there.

“I think we are just opening ourselves up for the same thing that we are going through with the opioid epidemic,” he said.

Salineville has not voted on the issue, he added, although he has encouraged officials there to do the same.

Summitville council passed the prohibition law by a 3-2 vote, Fiscal Officer Tina Moore said.