Pubdate: Tue, 01 Nov 2016
Source: Courier, The (OH)
Copyright: 2016 The Findlay Publishing Co.


Findlay City Council made sure to give its two-year moratorium on
medical marijuana a final vote Tuesday, but tabled legislation that
would continue funding for the Arts Partnership of Greater Hancock
County through the city's hotel/motel bed tax.

Council voted 9-1 to enact a ban on dispensing, cultivating or
processing medical marijuana within city limits until Sept. 8, 2018.
That will be exactly two years from the date the Ohio Legislature
legalized the drug. Council plans to revisit the ban once state
officials establish rules, which is expected to take at least two years.

Seventh Ward Councilman Tim Watson voted against the moratorium.
Watson has been outspoken in his opposition to making the drug

At its regular meeting Oct. 18, council did not take a final vote on
the ban after giving the legislation its third reading. Council voted
twice on the moratorium at the meeting: once to lift the legislation
from the table, and once to amend it, setting a two-year time limit on
the moratorium. The final, missed vote was discovered after the
meeting, upon review of the minutes.

In a story published Oct. 19, The Courier incorrectly reported that
council had enacted the ban.

About 15 people attended Tuesday's council meeting, most to encourage
council to approve continued funding for the Arts Partnership. The
partnership has received 10 percent of the city's share of the
hotel/motel bed tax, which amounts to about $40,000 a year, since
2014. The funding is set to expire Dec. 31.

However, At-Large Councilman Grant Russel made a motion to table the
ordinance, which was set to be given its third and final reading Tuesday.

Russel said the Hancock Historical Museum approached council with a
request for a portion of the hotel/motel bed tax in 2014, but was
turned away. There was discussion in 2014 of organizing a committee to
develop guidelines for use of the tax money, but the committee was
never formed.

Without guidelines, Russel said, groups seeking funding from the
city's hotel/motel bed tax are subject to the "ebb and flow of who is
on council" and the groups they favor.

He said in fairness to the historical museum and other "great
organizations in town," the committee needs to be formed now, and a
process put into place for handling similar requests. Russel said it's
a decision that would be best made during the city's budget process.

Council had discussed renewing the commitment to the Arts Partnership
for one year while new rules are developed, but no effort was made to
amend the ordinance before it was tabled Tuesday.

Courier reporter Denise Grant will have more on Wednesday.
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