Editor’s Note: This letter appeared as a paid advertisement in the July 20, 2017 edition of the Huber Heights Courier.
Dear Residents of Huber Heights,
Citizens may or may not be aware that there is an extremely important zoning case regarding medical marijuana before city council that will be voted on within the next couple of weeks. If passed, the zoning would allow marijuana cultivators, processors and dispensaries within our city limits. Legalized medical marijuana in the State of Ohio became effective September 8th, 2016 with the passage of Ohio House Bill 523.
I would like to be clear that I’m not arguing or disagreeing with the validity of marijuana for medical purposes. I have compassion for those suffering with symptoms of terrible diseases and chronic pain. I’m not a doctor, nor an expert in the field of pharmaceuticals so I’d never speak on the behalf of those who are. The State has deemed it legal and no matter how our city council decides to vote on our specific zoning case, medical marijuana will be available in our State for those who have followed the proper channels to obtain it legally.
The purpose of writing to you revolves around the image of our city and how that may be negatively affected with the changes in zoning that are on the table. One doesn’t have to look very far to find news articles of examples of situations that have already brought a negative image to our city. One of the main reasons I decided to run for mayor was to help do my part in cleaning up our image and perception that many in the region have of us. I have many new ideas on how we, as a city, move forward economically. We sit at the intersection of two of the largest interstates in the country, and there is no reason this area should only be known as the epicenter of the opioid crisis. We should be known as a hub of business activity. Corporations in other cities who are looking for room to grow and expand their businesses should have Huber Heights at the top of their interest list. I want to help make them aware that we want their business.
Businesses must make tough decisions all the time, and the one thing you can be assured of is, that those businesses are taking calculated risks. They know the risks they are a taking have an extremely high probability of succeeding or they don’t take those risks. It’s not worth the possible damage to their company or its bottom line. If our city is run like a business then I think we should act like it and only take those risks that we know have an extreme likelihood of success. The truth of the matter is that behind any evidence presented on the economic advantages of medical marijuana, there is just as much evidence for the economic disadvantages. What this tells me is we don’t really know what’s going to happen if we approve zoning for growers, processors, and sellers. It is important for you to understand that this zoning case not only approves growers of marijuana in our city, but it also includes the end user retail shops that will be selling the marijuana to their customers. Because there are so many unknowns concerning the potential negative impact to our community, I am of the strong opinion we should simply not take that risk. There’s just too much at stake
The decisions made by our city council directly affect our economic stability. Everything is connected. If this zoning case passes, Huber Heights and marijuana will be linked together moving forward. We cannot ignore that perception is reality and I don’t want marijuana to be the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think of Huber Heights. We have so much more to offer. We are a community of families and businesses, and if families decide they don’t want to live in a community with marijuana growers and sellers then that impacts us at a deep economic level. Research shows that people make their decision on where to live based on three main factors; safety, proximity to work, and quality of schools. If people decide to stop moving here, and the demand for housing goes down, property values will go down. If property values go down, that effects our schools because their funding is directly linked to the value of our properties. Once people stop moving here, what incentive is there for businesses to move or open shop here? The fewer families and business, the less tax revenue generated for the city. The economic cycle is a vicious one, and as I mentioned everything is connected and all it takes is for one building block to get damaged and it all crumbles to the ground. I’m asking all of you to really think through the risks of establishing a relationship with the marijuana industry when there are so many unknowns about how it can affect the long-term image and reputation of our city. I’m passionate about our city, and I’m passionate about making this the best place in the region to live for the near 40,000 residents that call Huber Heights home.
Please reach out to your city council representatives and let them know how you feel about them opening the city’s gates to the marijuana industry. I am firmly against the passage of this zoning law, so please stand with me and let your voice be heard!
Candidate for Mayor, Huber Heights