Out-of-state investor urges Parma to allow medical marijuana

The city's moratorium could soon expire

PARMA, Ohio -

Out-of-state investors are ready to make some green in Parma. They want the city to quickly approve the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana.

On Monday, Parma City Council heard from Chad Zaki, an investor from Phoenix, AZ with the firm Greenlight Holdings, L.L.C. 

Zaki refused to answer questions from News 5 but told councilors they should move quickly to enact regulations, so they aren’t eclipsed by neighboring communities.

Ohio is set to unveil regulations on the cultivation of medical marijuana by May 6. Parma’s own moratorium on the cultivation and sale of marijuana is set to expire in April.

Ward 9 Councilman Jeffrey Crossman said he’s in favor of allowing medical marijuana to be grown and sold in Parma.

“If it’s legislated by the state and its regulated by the state and its legalized by the state,” he said, “Then I think we’d be fools not to consider it.”

Mayor Tim DeGeeter said he’d ask the city’s law director for zoning changes as soon as Tuesday, to set in motion the allowance of so-called vertically-integrated marijuana facilities, where the plant is both grown and sold in the same location.

He said the city’s industrial northeast section would be a prime location but added they’re still early in the process and that there would be a public hearing.

“Then we will continue having the debate in city council on what direction we want to go,” Mayor DeGeeter told News 5.

One Parma resident spoke in favor of legalized weed, saying it helps with his chronic pain caused by a connective tissue disorder.

“The few times I have taken it,” he said, "I was able to be a normal human being for the first times in my life.”

There was a concern raised about how these businesses would be kept safe from potential armed robbers. Since federal law still outlaws marijuana, dispensaries are typically cash-only operations.

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