The full Cincinnati Council will vote Wednesday on a measure to allow medical marijuana cultivation and processing facilities in the city's manufacturing zones.
The Law and Public Safety Committee approved the issue Tuesday.
"The proposed notwithstanding ordinance would permit medical marijuana cultivators to establish facilities in any of the manufacturing zoning districts," said Ann Marie Kerby, a senior planner for the city. "They would then follow the same regulations and standards as farming or general production industry in those zoning districts."
She showed the committee members a map of those areas.
"A lot of the industrial area lies along the Mill Creek corridor and along the western riverfront and the northeast part of Cincinnati," Kerby said.
People who want to cultivate and process medical marijuana in Ohio must apply for a state license by Friday. They are required to provide detailed plans, including locations, as part of the application process. There's also a hefty application fee. The city needed to determine where such facilities could be located so those interested would know their applications are correct.
City attorney Marion Haynes said officials were working to meet state deadlines even though the state has yet to release all the rules and regulations for the new medical marijuana program.
"The idea was to provide both a mechanism for approving these, but giving the city the time it needs to react to the rules, some of which have not been adopted yet," Haynes said.
Council Member Kevin Flynn said city officials did a good job getting the right balance.
"The state said, 'you need to do something by a certain date, but we're not going to tell you all the rules that you have to operate under,'" Flynn said. "To allow potential investors in our city to have some assurance that they're not going to lose their investment, I think is a good thing."
For now, cultivation and processing facilities will not be allowed in residential areas. Council earlier approved a one year moratorium for those areas.
Ohio plans to award 12 small and 12 large cultivation and processing facilities statewide.
The medical marijuana program in Ohio will allow people with certain medical conditions to buy and use it with a recommendation of a physician licensed in the state.
In the future, the city will also likely need to address where medical marijuana dispensaries may be located.