Sunday, Jan 21, 2018
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Medical

City planners OK request for pot dispensary

The Toledo Plan Commission approved the request for a special-use permit to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in a former veterinary clinic on Sylvania Avenue.

The commission voted 2-1 to support the recommendation of the plan commission staff for approval to issue the permit for Glass City Alternatives, LLC. Ken Fallows and John Escobar voted for the measure and Julia Bryant opposed it.

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The Toledo Plan Commission approved a special use permit for Glass City Alternatives, which wants to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in this former veterinary clinic on Sylvania Avenue.

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Glass City Alternatives is seeking one of two locations state officials are allowing for medical marijuana retail outlets in Lucas County. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy received 18 applications to open dispensaries in the county.

The company is asking the city of Toledo for a special use permit to open the facility in a former veterinary clinic on Sylvania at Crary Drive.

Mark Jacobs, a Toledo attorney and one of three local investors in the firm, said the proposed dispensary has a detailed security plan, including an on-site security system and staffing with trained security officers. He said only people with medical marijuana identification cards would be allowed into the facility and employees will undergo background checks as required by the state Board of Pharmacy.

The facility, he said, would operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., sell only packaged marijuana products, and follow guidelines put in place by the state for medical marijuana dispensaries.

"We will be monitored closely by the state Board of Pharmacy. Not only for security but for our overall operating plan," Mr. Jacobs said.

House Bill 523, which went into effect Sept. 8, 2016, legalized medical marijuana in Ohio. While the legislation set a framework for the program, it left the ongoing work of establishing rules and guidelines for the cultivation, processing, testing, dispensing and medical use of marijuana to different state agencies, according to the state Medical Marijuana Control Program's website.

Mr. Jacobs said the vacant veterinary clinic was selected for the dispensary because of its proximity to major city streets and the expressway and because the property could be purchased for a fair price.

Glass City Alternatives is also seeking to operate dispensaries on Airport Highway in Springfield Township and Bowling Green.

JC Perry, who owns a house on Crary, said the location is not suitable for a dispensary because it is surrounded by residences where children are living.

He said the dispensary, if approved, would offer high-grade marijuana products and keep large amounts of cash, making it a target for thieves.

"The second you open it up, the schemers will be scheming," he said.

The special permit request will be reviewed by Toledo City Council's planning and zoning committee on Jan. 10. The proposal will then be decided by the full council.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6190

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