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Norwalkians to get ample opportunity to voice opinions on medical marijuana cultivation facility

• Updated Mar 16, 2017 at 12:28 PM

UPDATE: State Rep. Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City) sponsored legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio which was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. John Kasich in June of 2016. Voters did not approve it on the ballot. The Reflector regrets the error.

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Norwalk City Council is now looking at some tweaks to city code that would not only permit, but welcome, a medical marijuana cultivation facility within the borders of Norwalk.

On the surface, this certainly looks like a no-lose proposition for Norwalk. Ohio voters have determined that it is a legal business; there is compelling evidence that medicinal marijuana can ease the suffering of chronic pain sufferers; such a facility would create many good-paying, steady jobs; and it would fill the coffers of the city with cash at a time when it is squeezing an additional $10 from car owners to fund its operations.

Be all that as it may, any moral concerns about being associated with a product that has been unjustly, in many cases hilariously so, demonized by our federal and state governments, law enforcement and popular culture for over a century, is certainly understandable. Decade upon decade of incessant lies and attacks surely have influenced public opinion on the marijuana question.

As such, marijuana is almost always a sensitive topic and one that needs to be approached cautiously. Fortunately, the process by which amending city ordinances takes place, does just that.

Over the next four to six weeks, Norwalkians will get ample opportunity to voice their opinions on this issue as the code changes undergo readings. And while no significant opposition was expressed at Tuesday’s meeting, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Over the time that this is being considered, it is important for supporters of this project – the Norwalk Reflector among them at this point – to do what they can to help educate the community on the many benefits that will accrue to the community should it land one of the just 12 such facilities the state has authorized.

In the meantime, regardless of whether your opinion is pro or con, it is critical that as many residents as possible be heard on this matter so that elected officials are armed with the data they need to best represent the interests of Norwalk. Call your council person, write letters to the editor, advocate on social media, speak at council meetings, talk to your friends.

This is an important decision for Norwalk and could have a significant impact on the community’s future development. Your opinion is needed now.

Norwalk city council members can be reached as follows: Chris Mushett, 419-668-9433 (at-large); Chris Castle, 419-706-7381 (4th Ward); Deb Lucal, 419-663-0942 (1st Ward); Samantha (Ludwig) Wilhelm, 419-706-9108 (3rd Ward); David Wallace. 419-706-8656 (2nd Ward); Steve Schumm, 419-668-8994 (at-large); Kelly Beck, 419-663-2346 (at-large); and Steve Euton, 419-350-1247 (at-large).

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