HICKSVILLE — A brief regular meeting Monday of the Hicksville Village Council included a discussion on the possibility of medical marijuana manufacturing finding its way into the village.
Since the previous meeting, Councilmen Eric Bassett and Ron Beverly have both communicated with Erin Pollinger, director of operations at Botanica, which describes itself as “an alternative and holistic health source.” Bassett has communicated with the business via email, while Beverly has spoken to Pollinger in person. According to the emails, Botanica would not sell, grow or cultivate marijuana in town; rather, the products it creates (which Bassett described as gums and candies used for medicinal purposes) would be distributed to dispensaries for retail.
Beverly said Botanica is not actively searching for a place to build a new facility; rather, the company is currently researching possible locations for production facilities.
Pastor Steve Eyers of Lifeline Connect Church stated he has done sizeable research on medical marijuana since the last meeting and believed the jury to still be out, with no solid documentation existing substantiating positive claims about such facilities; he did observe that medical marijuana is not on the “approved” list of the Food and Drug Administration.
Eyers suggested council speak to state lawmakers and those in other municipalities which have approved medical marijuana production facilities about the results of such places, noting, “Once you open the door it will be difficult to close.”
Eyers, along with village solicitor Troy Essex, have noted that in areas where recreational marijuana has been approved, it has been preceded by medical marijuana in each case.
As to claims that such facilities would bring additional jobs into Hicksville, Eyers said he did not believe adult bookstores would be the ideal jobs the town would prefer. Further, he noted that many jobs do not discriminate between medical and recreational marijuana usage; this could result in users being fired following random drug tests.
Many banks refuse to take money raised from any production facility involving the drug since marijuana is illegal under federal law.
Police Chief Mark Denning said that all serious drug offenders have gone on to, for example, cocaine or heroin after initially using marijuana.
The state of Ohio allows individual municipalities to vote on passing legislation prohibiting medical marijuana facilities. Noting other counties where such legislation was passed, Beverly said that if Hicksville were to do likewise, the village better do so soon.
Beverly urged Essex to bring back an ordinance for the next regular council meeting of March 4 declaring Hicksville’s opposition to the establishment of medical marijuana facilities.
In other business, council:
• heard village workers will be out to remove fallen tree limbs from properties after recent ice storms; this will be for specific storm-related items. A tree trimmer will be in as well to remove limbs from trees located between streets and sidewalks if the limbs have fallen onto wires or other places village workers cannot reach.
• learned 22-year old tires have been replaced from a fire department tanker truck.
• heard a Jaws of Life training event will be held at the fire station at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
• heard four new mobile radios are being installed in police cars.
• was told the parks department is in the process of hiring and rehiring lifeguards for the pool this summer.
• was told a random letter is being circulated from a group calling itself American Resources of Ohio, asking people to get involved in a water line protection program. This letter is not from the village.