Health Officials Discuss Marijuana Law, Smoke-Free Parks With Wauseon Council

By: James Pruitt

Sharon Morr, director of corporate and community health promotion at the Fulton County Health Center, talked about the benefits of smoke-free parks. As of July 1, there were 1,266 municipalities in the nation that have total smoke-free park ordinances, Morr said.

While many communities in Ohio have bans in place, Delta and Archbold don’t have ordinances for smoke-free parks, but they have put up signs. The only thing is if someone doesn’t comply, then there is no recourse. However, it has been conveyed to her that it hasn’t been an issue for them. Obviously the reasons are many to have a smoke-free park; not exposing other people to second-hand smoke and providing a role model for the kids that are there playing activities.

Councilor Chamberlin asked if she would also recommend that ban include vaping. Morr said she would recommend that it be extended because the more that is earned about it. it is not harmless.

Councilor Kost asked about the wording included in the ordinance. Morr recommended that a source for information is the website

Beth Thomas, program director for Healthy Choices Caring Communities at the Fulton County Health Department talked about the Medical Marijuana law. The state has two years to become fully operationa, Thomas said. It will be divided between the Board of Pharmacy, Department of Commerce and Ohio Medical Board to finalize the details.

There will be a 12-member advisory council that will advise the governing organizations how to go forward.

Thomas said the physician can make a recommendation to use marijuana but it is not a prescription. There is a list of required conditions in order to receive a recommendation to use marijuana, she said.

Ohio does list chronic or severe pain as a condition, she said. “Not many states do that.”

In Ohio, experts are predicting 116,000 to 232,000 people to fall in the 1-2 percent of required conditions.

Chief Torbet added marijuana is a “Schedule 1” drug. According to the federal government it has no medicinal purposes.

“You cannot prescribe it through a regular pharmacy” Torbet said.

Since it is illegal under federal law pharmacies cannot legally dispense it, Thomas said. It will be achieved through dispensaries, she said.

Marijuana will not be allowed to be smoked but it can be vaped. Employers will still be able to enforce their drug free workplace policies.

They will still be able to fire a person for use of medical marijuana and those individuals will not be eligible for unemployment benefits even though it was physician recommended.

Thomas said Archbold and Swanton have already passed moratoriums. “You have the ability to restrict or ban dispensaries in your community,” Thomas said. She also added in Colorado which has recreational and medicinal marijuana, actually 68 percent of the municipalities have chosen to ban it.

Healthy Choice Caring Communities’ concern includes the increased ability for youth to obtain marijuana in the community. Other states that have legalized medical marijuana use have seen an increase in adult as well youth use.

Other concerns are: will employers find employees that pass the drug test and traffic safety.

Council President Stiriz asked if you don’t get a prescription for it, what happens if you get stopped. Chief Torbet replied the state will have to come up with an identification card or some sort stating people are allowed to have it and at what quantity and what strength.

Director of Public Service Dennis Richardson introduced Nel Rodriguez, the new recreation superintendent.

Rodriguez gave a brief summary of his background and said he is looking forward to working for the city.

Department Reports
Fire Chief Rick Sluder said he is still working with the townships on the Fire Protection contracts. He is also getting ready for the Chili Cook-off.

The Police Department will host a session called “Use of Force, You Make the Call.”

Police Chief Keith Torbet said the session will be from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3. The department will present different scenarios for people to make a decision on making the right call. This is a way for people to know what officers deal with every day.

Code Administrator Tom Hall said work has begun on the sidewalk project this week. There is one new house under construction at Arrowhead Subdivision. Also a new Habitat for Humanity house is planned to be built on Shoop Avenue.

Director of Public Service Dennis Richardson explained the legislation for bridge inspection services with the Ohio Department of Transportation (Res. 2016-20).

Several years ago county engineers inspected bridges for their counties but for liability reasons they stopped doing it.

For a period of time the city had to contract with consulting engineers but not enough people were complying with it so ODOT convinced the state legislature to let them coordinate, so they now have contracts with consultants throughout the state to do the inspections.

Richardson reported last month staff did the walk-through on the Linfoot Street project and they are now completing the punch list and getting the road finished up.

Richardson reported the pool bids were opened Sept. 14. The city received one bid for the pool and one for the bathhouse.

The pool bid was close to the engineer’s estimate but the bathhouse was considerably higher than the estimate.

The city is back to working with the engineers to formulate some revisions and get it closer to the money that we will have.

Fall Clean-up has been scheduled from Oct. 7-15.

Archbold Refuse Service will be providing the boxes and disposal. Unacceptable items are listed on the website.

Jamie Giguere reported the Finance Department reports are in the process of being transferred over to a new software system. She anticipates that it will be completely done soon.

Director of Law Thomas McWatters reported he recently attended a seminar and one of the things covered was the new Medical Marijuana law.

A webinar is being set up provided by the Ohio Municipal League. The city is trying to put together an event for other entities in the area to view it. This will provide information on ways for municipalities to handle the new law.

Mayor Huner read out loud by title the following legislation presented for first reading or emergency.

Amend the Budget
Resolution 2016-18 – Amend Ordinance 2015-16 Annual Appropriation Ordinance by Authorizing the Director of Finance to Increase or Decrease Certain Line Account Appropriations within the Various Funds Listed within the Year of 2016

Necessary Tax Levies
Resolution 2016-19 – Accepting the Amounts and Rates as Determined by the Budget Commission and Authorizing the Necessary Tax Levies and Certifying them to the County Auditor
Councilor Kost moved and seconded by Councilor Scott Stiriz to pass Resolution 2016-19
Vote: 6 yeas – 0 Nays Resolution 2016-19 Passes and is Now in Affect

Bridge Inspection Services
Resolution 2016-20 – Authorizing the Mayor to Enter into a Contract for Bridge Inspection Services with the Ohio Department of Transportation; and Declaring an Emergency

Mayor Huner read out loud by title the following legislation presented for second reading:

Adopting a Classification Plan
Resolution 2016-15 – Adopting a Classification Plan

Adopting a Compensation Plan
Resolution 2016-16 – Adopting a Compensation Plan
Resolution 2016-17 – Accepting the Recommendations of the Revolving Loan Fund Committee; Authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Shannon Backyard Barbeque and Grill, LLC and its principals
Ordinance 2016-10 – Amending Chapter 148, Wage and Compensation Plan, of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Wauseon

Sidewalk Projects for 2017
Councilor Chamberlin asked Tom Hall for some numbers for the cost of a sidewalk to the Leggett Street School for consideration in next year’s budget.
Huner asked if he had talked with anyone at the hospital or school about their plans.
Council President Stiriz stated it was conveyed to him that it was going to be brought up at the next Hospital Board meeting.

Wauseon Recreation Association (WRA)
Councilor Chamberlin asked McWatters about whether the city has any legislative oversight pertaining to the WRA. McWatters replied the city was not able to find any legislation and there is no direct oversight that he is aware of.

James Pruitt may be reached at

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