Marijuana dispensary considers locating in Madison Township

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A small, family-owned company from Cambridge that sells medical marijuana is looking at Madison Township as a possible location for a new retail facility.

Bryan Hennessey of Backroad Wellness told township trustees at their regular meeting Monday that the company, which has dispensaries in Cambridge, New Boston and Lima, was allowed to open three more locations under recent legislation governing recreational marijuana.

“We’re looking at a place to put them and are looking at a building in your township,” Hennessey told the board. “We want to see how everybody thought about that and if we’re going to have any support and to answer any questions.”

Hennessey said Backroad Wellness stores average about $250,000 in sales per month and generate $16,000 to $17,000 per month in sales tax. Although he did not say exactly where, he told the board the company is looking at a site where an existing building would be razed and a new 4,000-square-foot facility would be constructed.

“If we have community support, when June comes we’ll submit our applications to the state and if they approve our location we can start our preparations,” Hennessey said.

Tom Craft
Tom Craft

Trustees’ Chairman Tom Craft pointed out that Madison has a resolution that “in a nutshell” outlaws any medical marijuana facilities in the township. “That was signed into effect before all this other (state legislation), so I need to get this to my legal counsel,” Craft said. “So we cannot make any kind of legal decision on it until they see if this resolution is still legal.”

December: Columbus marijuana users enjoy their first legal puffs at 'Fire It Up Friday'

During the second public comment period of the meeting, residents asked about how medical marijuana dispensaries operate and whether legal recreational marijuana would cause problems. Hennessey pointed out more problems are caused through the sale and use of “illicit” marijuana.

2023: Marijuana dispensary to open near US 30 will reduce patient travel

Sheriff candidate addresses trustees

Trustees also heard from Donald Zehner, a Republican candidate for Richland County sheriff, who outlined his three-point campaign platform that includes more attention to the county jail. “Our jail is a big problem. It needs special attention with a lot of liability going on, thefts going on,” Zehner said. “I plan to spend at least 31% of my time there. I plan to have an actual office there so I’m there for employees, I’m there for inmates.”

Zehner also said he would work with other county agencies and the City of Mansfield to have a behavioral response team to give people help when they need it — people such as repeat offenders and juveniles who continually get into trouble. “Instead of taking a report and going on to the next call, we’re going to take more time with these people and find out what’s going on,” he said.

Zehner’s final point would be for the Sheriff’s Office to have a bomb-sniffing dog that could be used to search county schools to find hidden weapons and ammunition. “It’s a deterrent. In this county, this state, the United States it’s not a matter of if we’re going to have another active shooter, it’s a matter of when and where,” he explained. “Any and all deterrence we can do in this county is huge to us.”

Trustees hear road department, fiscal caution updates

During administrative reports, Trustee Dan Fletcher said he is working with the fiscal officer to obtain a computer for the road department to prepare various reports and do required safety training and is contacting the handful of residents who have basketball hoops near the edge of the road to move them so they are not a potential hazard for snow plows. He also said he took time to review summer road paving projects from 2011 through 2023 and was surprised to find that 42 miles of township roads were paved during that period.

Craft reported he is working with the Ohio Auditor’s office on the continuing performance audit to help get the township out of a fiscal caution designation and is working with the Richland County Land Bank to complete mitigation work on the formerly contaminated site of a building next to the main fire station that was razed.

In other action, Madison trustees agreed to hire Harvey Bachmann, who previously worked as a township firefighter for “many” years, as a part-time firefighter, and to sell two Stryker stair chairs the fire department has replaced.

This article originally appeared on Mansfield News Journal: Madison Township Ohio trustees discuss possible medical dispensary