On Monday, October 23, the Mason City Council considered two ordinances regarding whether medical marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensaries should be allowed within the City of Mason.
Ordinance 2017-138 established a 180-day moratorium on the creation of marijuana cultivation sites, processing sites, or dispensaries in Mason, and Ordinance 2017-139 began the process of enacting zoning laws to permanently prevent these establishments.
As Citizens for Community Values’ letter to the Council and testimony that night made clear, increasing the availability of marijuana in Mason is not only bad for families and the community, it goes against the will of Mason voters who overwhelmingly rejected the idea just 2 years ago.
While both ordinances passed, the question still remains: will Mason do what’s right and finish the process of prohibiting marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensaries within city limits?
On November 7, Mason will be voting on new Council members. The voters deserve to know where these candidates stand. On Friday, October 27, we emailed every council member at their public email address (email@example.com) and candidate for Mason City Council, asking them this question:
“Ordinance 2017-138 was passed on October 23 and created a 180 moratorium on the establishment of marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensary sites within Mason city limits. Before the expiration of this ordinance, will you pledge to enact an ordinance permanently prohibiting marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensaries from establishing within Mason city limits?”
These are the responses we’ve received. We will update this page as we receive more responses:
Mayor Victor Kidd: Crafting a Medical Marijuana policy is a very serious issue that should not be rushed for political expediency. To do so would be irresponsible. As a seeker of truth, I always try to keep an open mind and listen, particularly when there are compelling arguments on both sides. There are a number of factors to be considered on this issue. First and foremost, we have not yet had a public hearing where the community has been able to share their thoughts. We have heard from a few constituents for and against MM, and emotions run high on both sides. But we were elected to make decisions based on knowledge, not on emotion. We will need to consult with medical experts, addiction specialists, counselors, patients and Mason residents. We will also be speaking with community leaders where these facilities already exist. The moratorium allows council time to be thoughtful, engage with the public and arrive at an intelligent decision. If our thorough research shows MM to be a danger to our community, I’m confident this council will not put our citizens at risk. We all have families in Mason and want a safe and prosperous community. If, on the other hand, we find MM to be a safe and helpful means of alleviating suffering, it would not be logical to ban such a medication unless the majority of the community simply doesn’t want that business located in Mason. Prescription drugs are abused at a much higher rate and are far more deadly than marijuana, yet those who have such a strong emotional reaction to MM have no problem with CVS and Walgreens placed throughout our communities. Some claim MM is merely a ruse for potheads to legally acquire this drug while others cite evidence MM is an effective means of treating illness and even mitigating the opioid epidemic, which I have been fighting vigorously for over five years. Last year in America there were over 33,000 overdose deaths from opiates. Some assert MM is helping to stem the tide of these unnecessary tragic deaths and all the related brokenness. With this in mind, what intelligent person would not want the veracity of those claims investigated? Any legal medication proven to alleviate suffering for millions of adults and children, despite its social stigma, is worthy of our most sincere consideration. It is my hope that all responsible citizens will study both sides of this issue thoroughly before rushing to judgement. This is the purpose for the moratorium. It is never wise to make important decisions strictly from fear and ignorance.
Vice Mayor Barbara Berry-Spaeth: Refused to publicly share her opposition to allowing Medical Marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensaries in Mason.
Councilman Ashley Chance: Yes, I will act to permanently prohibit Medical Marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensaries in Mason, if that is what the citizens of Mason ultimately want. The 180 day moratorium will give us a chance to understand this.
Councilwoman Kathy Grossman: I agree with and support the prohibition of the cultivation, processing and dispensing of marijuana in the City of Mason. After careful consideration of evidence, extensive research and discussions with experts on both sides of the issue, I have learned that the “Medical” Marijuana Industry is not a good fit for the Mason community. Those who hold or seek public office are duty-bound to be transparent on their positions. Voters have the right to know what to expect from all of us, as this matter is not resolved in Mason and will continuously be on the ballot in the State of Ohio.
Councilwoman Diana Nelson: Refused to publicly share her opposition to allowing Medical Marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensaries in Mason.
Councilwoman Char Pelfrey: Yes, I will act to permanently prohibit Medical Marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensaries in Mason.
Councilman Don Prince: I oppose any and all forms of marijuana businesses locating in Mason. The 180 day moratorium provides only temporary protection. I urge my council colleagues and future council members to support zoning legislation to prevent such businesses from locating anywhere in the city, and to pass that zoning change before the moratorium expires.
Candidate Tony Bradburn: Yes, I’m in favor of the total ban for marijuana dispensing in the City of Mason. I support the 65% of voters who in 2015 who voted against marijuana in the City of Mason.
Candidate Mike Gilb: Yes, I SUPPORT the ban. I spoke in front of Council at the October 23rd meeting and urged them to SUPPORT both Ordinances 2017-138 and 2017-139 – I also had delivered this e-mail message to Council before their meeting: “Council – I want to add my voice to those encouraging you to SUPPORT ordinances 2017-138 & 2017-139 imposing a moratorium on marijuana dispensaries in
Mason and seeking the enactment of zoning laws that ultimately prevent marijuana dispensaries from coming to Mason. … Acting in step with municipalities throughout the State, I want to thank you for doing all you can to protect the citizens of Mason, Ohio.
Candidate TJ Honerlaw: “I strongly oppose marijuana businesses in the City of Mason for 3 reasons: 1) Mason residents voted overwhelmingly to reject this 2 years ago. 2) Marijana is currently an illegal drug under Federal law. 3) There are currently 2 pills approved by the FDA with the same medical benefits as marijuana.”
Candidate Josh Styrcula: Ordinance 2017-138 was passed on October 23 and created a 180 moratorium on the establishment of marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensary sites within Mason city limits. Before the expiration of this ordinance, will you pledge to enact an ordinance permanently prohibiting marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensaries from establishing within Mason city limits? The answer is Yes.