Council hears medical marijuana survey results

HUBER HEIGHTS — A survey on medical marijuana in Huber Heights hasn’t cleared the air but it has given city council some additional information to consider.

Last month, council voted against a rezoning that would have allowed a medical marijuana production facility to locate in the city. Council also passed a six-month moratorium on any other applications for such facilities in the city.

The results of a study commissioned by council and conducted by the Impact Group were released last week and Impact representative Tom Speaks was at Monday’s council meeting to personally explain the results.

Two surveys were conducted: one was a phone survey, the other an on-line survey. Before presenting the results, Speaks warned council that on-line surveys aren’t scientifically controlled so the results have to be interpreted carefully. He said the phone survey is a better scientific process.

“Here’s the bottom line when we go through this,” Speaks said, summarizing the results. “It is very, very divided. Statistically, I’ve done this for 15 years and I’ve never seen anything as divided or quite as polarizing. People are really for it, people are really against it and there’s not a lot in between.”

The phone survey showed 32 percent of respondents strongly in favor of medical marijuana and 30 percent against. Speaks said respondents less than 35 years of age were strongly for medical marijuana and respondents older than 65 were strongly against.

When asked why they favored medical marijuana, proponents listed health reasons and job growth as the two main reasons. The two major reasons for opposition were safety/crime and “just don’t like drugs.”

When asked how they felt medical marijuana would impact the quality of life in Huber Heights, the phone poll respondents again were split almost evenly between negative and positive.

There were 1,170 responses to the on-line survey, which showed a much higher rate of acceptance for medical marijuana than the phone survey.

“Usually when we do this, you have the peak in the middle,” Speaks said. “It’s just the opposite. There aren’t a lot of undecided people. You have passionate people for, passionate people against and that’s what makes it interesting.”

Also Monday night, Council heard a presentation from Mike Chambers of the National League of Cities service line warranty program. The league of cities offers a warranty program to homeowners of participating cities for lateral water and sewer lines. Those are the lines that extend from houses to the main lines and are the responsibility of homeowners.

If council decides to participate in the program, there would be no cost to the city. Homeowners could opt to participate or not participate. Sewer line warranties cost $7.75 per month and water line warranties cost $5.75, with discounts that would lower the cost if paid yearly instead of monthly. There are 500 cities that participate in the program.

Council also:

  • Approved a change in the development plan for section two of the Artisan Walk development. Representatives were on hand from Ryan Homes and Liberty Savings Bank to explain the changes. The major differences from the previously approved plan included a different connection to Bellefontaine Road and an increase in lots from 30 to 32. After a public hearing on the changes, council voted 6-1 to approve the changes with Council Member Janelle Smith voting no.
  • Approved a resolution hiring Castle Roofing to repair the roof at Fire Station 23.
  • Appointed Christopher Gologanoff to the parks and recreation board for a term expiring March 31, 2020, and appointed Nina Deam to the parks and recreation board for a term expiring March 31, 2018.
  • Approved an ordinance to levy assessments for the 2017 sidewalk program.
  • Passed to second reading an ordinance that will levy recalculated assessments for nine years for street lighting.
  • Discussed the procedure for replacing City Prosecutor Robert Coughlin, who has announced his retirement. Law Director Jerry McDonald explained that council appoints the city prosecutor.
  • Listened to Police Chief Mark Lightner explain the department’s role in the Montgomery Councy Drug-Free Coalition. Representatives from various Montgomery County law enforcement agencies were in Huber Heights Tuesday to conduct a “blitz” on drugs. Lightner also told council about the department’s program to reach out to overdose victims in a follow-up program designed to help educate users about treatment options.

Council Member Ed Lyons was absent from the meeting.

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Tom Speaks of the Impact Group presents results of a survey on medical marijuana at Huber Heights City Council meeting. Speaks of the Impact Group presents results of a survey on medical marijuana at Huber Heights City Council meeting. Photo by Dave Lindeman

By Dave Lindeman

For the Courier

Reach Dave Lindeman at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.