Published: Tuesday, 23 May 2017 00:20
By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter
MOUNT VERNON — On Monday, council members began the process of deciding whether to allow growing or dispensing of medical marijuana within the city limits.
In 2016, the Ohio Legislature passed a law allowing marijuana to be grown and dispensed for 20 diagnoses. “Part of the law allows individual communities to determine if they want to have growing, selling or any part of medical marijuana,” said Law Director Rob Broeren. If communities do not specifically prohibit it, then it is automatically allowed.
Under the law, Ohio physicians can recommend a patient be eligible for treatment with medical marijuana. The patient takes this recommendation to a dispensary to receive the marijuana. The marijuana can be in the form of a pill, capsule or patch. Unlike Colorado, which allows recreational marijuana, Ohio's law states the marijuana cannot be smoked.
“We are right in the middle of trying to clean up our community...I'm not against medical marijuana, it's how it's distributed,” said Councilman John Francis. “A dispensary isn't a regulated pharmacy.”
Councilman John Booth said he is afraid it will get totally out of control like the over prescribing of Oxycodone.
West High Street resident Andrew Pike favors council passing legislation opposing any form of medical marijuana within the city limits. He compared it to when cocaine was first discovered; the thinking was that it was an effective pain killer, but it turned out it just masked the pain because users were getting high. He also questioned whether patients who no longer need the marijuana for medical reasons will still want it.
Local pharmacist Scott Miglin favors medical marijuana for medical and economic reasons. “The 20 qualified diagnoses are all without cure and treatment often is limited,” he said. “Medical marijuana is intended for these patients.” Comparing marijuana to legal substances such as alcohol and illegal drugs such as cocaine, Miglin said that there have been zero overdose deaths attributed to marijuana itself and that medical marijuana has in fact reduced the use of opioids in states that allow medical marijuana.
He said that a grower facility or dispensary creates jobs and that if the city allowed a dispensary, out-of-town people would have to come to Mount Vernon since there are a limited number of dispensaries available. “A legal medical marijuana program will benefit [Mount Vernon] medically and economically,” he said.
Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer also opposed medical marijuana. He said he visited Colorado shortly after the state legalized marijuana. There were daily news reports about issues at a dispensary or grow site, billboards that targeted youth with marijuana candy, and the hospitals had problems with overdoses.
He said the Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association opposes medical marijuana, viewing it as a stepping stone to other drugs. He said that not everyone who uses marijuana advances to heroin, but everyone on heroin has used marijuana. “I think it's just too unproven for us,” he said.
Councilman Sam Barone said marijuana can be a gateway drug, but it can also benefit some people and may keep them off opioids, “which we are really struggling with.”
Councilwoman Nancy Vail said she will schedule a Planning and Zoning committee meeting to discuss the issue and review draft legislation. Broeren said that even if the city bans the growth or sale of medical marijuana, a medical marijuana operation could be set up just outside the city limits unless township trustees take steps to ban it also.
Published: Monday, 22 May 2017 02:55
By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor
MOUNT VERNON - The venue had to be changed due to the weather, but the rainy day did not dampen the spirits of the 292 MVHS seniors who received their diplomas at Sunday afternoon's commencement. The ceremony was moved to MVNU's R. R. Hodges Chapel. Overflow seating was available in the MVHS theater and the event was livestreamed on the internet thanks to the university.
Edward Elgar's traditional graduation march, "Pomp and Circumstance" was performed by the MVHS Orchestra, directed by Anthony Springer, for the processional. The MVHS Chorale also performed during the ceremony under the direction of Marty Bell.
The speakers for the event included seniors Victoria Risko and Lacey Montgomery. Senior class president Freddie Bockover presented the senior class gift, a bench near the spirit rock at the high school in memory of math teacher and wrestling coach John Brown who passed away last December. Bockover also announced that the words to the MVHS alma mater will be painted in the MVHS gym, also known as the Hive. It's hoped the painting will encourage participation in the singing of the alma mater before sporting events. The last line of the song is, "When we're gone we'll still remember our Mount Vernon High."
Superintendent William Seder talked to the graduates about the journey after high school. Making comparisons to a GPS device, he asked them to consider the scenic route and to not always take the fastest route through life.
High School principal Scott Will read the names of the graduates as they crossed the stage and members of the board of education handed out the diplomas. Each student received a hug from a teacher of their choosing once diploma was in hand.