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Mayor Duncan shares reasons for veto

• Updated Apr 17, 2017 at 1:23 AM

Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan is vetoing legislation that would welcome a medical-marijuana cultivation facility in the city.

During its April 4 meeting, council voted 4-3 to amend portions of chapter 513 of the Norwalk codified ordinances to provide for the state-regulated cultivation of medical marijuana within the city. Councilmen Chris Castle and Kelly Beck co-sponsored the legislation. Castle and Beck previously shared their reasons why the legislation should not be vetoed.

Castle, Beck, Samantha Wilhelm and Deb Lucal cast supporting votes while Chris Mushett, Dave Wallace and Steve Schumm voted against it.

The mayor filed his veto and written objections with the council clerk late last week.

During Tuesday’s meeting, council has the option to present a motion to reconsider voting on the medical-marijuana cultivation legislation.

Below is the paperwork that Duncan shared with council members, explaining his reason for vetoing the legislation.

* * *

Pursuant to Section 2.03.b of the Charter of the City of Norwalk, Ohio, the undersigned, as Mayor of the City of Norwalk, Ohio, hereby enters his disapproval of Item 17-029, passed by Council on April 04, 2017, and vetoes the same.

Pursuant to said Section 2.03.b, my objections to Item 17-029 are as follows:

1. The complexity of the issues involved in this legislation coupled with the lack of adequate time to consider those issues; the lack of clarity and finality in the State rules and regulations to become applicable to this industry; and the fact that, in spite of action by the State of Ohio, cultivation of marijuana, medical or otherwise, remains a federal offense, leads to the conclusion that it is premature for Norwalk to consider or act upon this or similar legislation.

2. In the past, City Council has spent months discussing the possibilities of whether to allow golf carts, chickens, and gun ranges in the City. However, when it came to marijuana, we were afforded only 3 1/2 weeks to consider, research, and act upon this important issue. During that 3 1/2 weeks, the majority of the discussion was on people’s opinions of medical marijuana rather than the cultivation or processing business coming to Norwalk and what that entails.

3. This legislation asked the City to act upon a proposal to change our codified ordinances to allow a cultivation business for which the State has yet to finalize the applicable rules and regulations. We do not know what the final rules will be and how they might impact our City. Furthermore, many of the financials projections provided were not realistic and were based upon experiences in other states. Tax rules in the State of Ohio are different than other states.

4. Finally, the cultivation, possession and selling of marijuana, whether for medical purposes or otherwise, remains a federal offense. Adopting Item 17-029 would send the signal that the City of Norwalk welcomes a business engaged in activities that could well constitute federal felony crimes.

In accordance with the provisions of Section 2.03.b of the Charter, please enter my objections in full upon the journal of Council.

* * * 

Pursuant to Section 2.03.b of the Charter of the City of Norwalk, Ohio, the undersigned, as Mayor of the City of Norwalk, Ohio, hereby enters his disapproval of Item 17-030, passed by Council on April 04, 2017, and vetoes the same.

Pursuant to said Section 2.03.b, my objections to Item 17-030 are as follows: 

1. The complexity of the issues involved in this legislation coupled with the lack of adequate time to consider those issues; the lack of clarity and finality in the State rules and regulations to become applicable to this industry; and the fact that, in spite of action by the State of Ohio, cultivation of marijuana, medical or otherwise, remains a federal offense, leads to the conclusion that it is premature for Norwalk to consider or act upon this or similar legislation.

2. The past, City Council has spent months discussing the possibilities of whether to allow golf carts, chickens, and gun ranges in the City. However, when it came to marijuana, we were afforded only 3 1/2 weeks to consider, research, and act upon this important issue. During that 3 1/2 weeks, the majority of the discussion was on people’s opinions of medical marijuana rather than the cultivation or processing business coming to Norwalk and what that entails.

3. Finally, the cultivation, possession and selling of marijuana, whether for medical purposes or otherwise, remains a federal offense. Adopting Item 17-029 would send the signal that the City of Norwalk welcomes a business engaged in activities that could well constitute federal felony crimes.

In accordance with the provisions of Section 2.03.b of the Charter, please enter my objections in full upon the journal of Council.

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