Third Times A Charm: Berea Mayor Gets Partial Cannabis Ban

Third Times A Charm: Berea Mayor Gets Partial Cannabis Ban
Third Times A Charm: Berea Mayor Gets Partial Cannabis Ban

Berea City Council and Mayor Cyril Kleem (back row at right) have reached agreement on imposing a ban on recreational cannabis cultivating and processing facilities. One recreational marijuana dispensary, however, will be permitted.Beth Mlady/special to

BEREA, Ohio – Entrepreneurs considering establishing cannabis cultivation or processing facilities in Berea are now out of luck.

City Council at a special May 13 meeting passed an ordinance banning them.

The ordinance allows, however, one properly licensed dual-use cannabis dispensary to be located somewhere in Berea.

It was Mayor Cyril Kleem’s third attempt at getting legislation passed to restrict recreational marijuana businesses. The first try, which was a total ban, resulted in a 4-3 City Council defeat on April 15. On May 6, council voted 6-1 to table indefinitely a compromise ordinance.

Kleem expressed his feelings to council prior to the May 13 vote.

“I am still supportive of a total ban of all cannabis businesses, even if it’s temporary, because I believe that without a total ban, the city is exposed to a potential lawsuit,” Kleem said. “I don’t hold this view because I’m trying to slow down zoning or as a scare tactic.

“Like most communities I’m aware of that have banned cannabis operations in some form, they and I feel there is not enough case law to support any zoning decisions we may make.”

He added the city’s “priority should be to protect the legal interests of the citizens and not going after a potential business, regardless of how much revenue it may bring to the city.”

“Lawsuits over planning, zoning and development are not uncommon, even if we propose what seems like reasonable zoning to allow a cannabis dispensary,” Kleem explained. “Under what case law do we determine that our efforts are reasonable?

“At least this (newest ordinance) gives us some legal coverage and reduces our legal exposure. To me, it’s like an insurance policy that provides partial coverage, but not full coverage.”

Currently, a recreational cannabis dispensary could go into any of six zoning districts under a conditional use, Law Director Barbara Jones said.

“We still very strongly encourage you to keep that zoning process going,” Jones told council. “It’s up to the state to determine who actually gets the (dispensary) license.”

An interested cannabis entrepreneur recently expressed his desire to locate a dispensary in West Valley Plaza. Council previously stated its intention to create zoning legislation permitting a dispensary in the Bagley Road Commercial District.

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