Springfield woman not letting marijuana moratorium stop her from starting business

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2015, file photo, lead grower Dave Wilson cares for marijuana plants at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill. Two executives from the Drug Free Action Alliance, which fought Ohio's legalization of medical marijuana, were appointed Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, as the final members of the state’s 14-member medical marijuana advisory committee, raising concerns among advocates about whether the panel will be stacked against patients. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio is now one of 28 states that has legalized medical marijuana, but several Miami Valley cities don’t want the drug sold in their communities.

The billion dollar marijuana industry can pump revenue into any struggling community, but not everyone is trying to get in on the potential pot of gold.

Renea Turner is already the owner of one successful business in Springfield, and now she’s looking to add marijuana processor, researcher and dispensary owner to her list, but says it’s been frustrating, because her hometown is trying to prevent it from happening.

“Springfield is going to get left behind and anyone that does the moratorium are going to be left behind because they’re only going to do so many licenses once they’re done no one is going to come and invest millions of dollars into a town later.  It’s not going to be any licenses available and no one’s going to move their facility,” Turner said.

City of Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland said they’re waiting to see how the state rolls out the medical marijuana program before making any decisions.

“The basic problem is we don’t know where the cities fits in to whatever the state is going to approve where,” Copeland said.  According to Copeland that can change their mind and remove or extend the moratorium at any point prior to July 5.

The state has drafted an initial set of rules for medical marijuana including patients paying a $50 annual fee and carrying an ID card.  The law would cover 20 specific medical conditions and up to 40 licenses for manufacturers would be available in the state.  Turner is hoping to be one of those 40.  But she says processors would have to pay a $100,000 fee annual.  Making it very difficult for some to get into the industry, but not Turner.  She said this has been a passion of hers for the past 5 years.

“A lot of personal reasons.  My dad had cancer, my sister had cancer and had other issues,” Turner said.

By May 6 rules on how to legally grow the product will be adopted and by September 2017 rules pertaining to processing, dispensing and prescribing the drug must be approved, so the program can be fully operational September 2018.

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