Strawberry Fields

Strawberry Fields, a medical marijuana dispensary, will soon be opening in downtown Logan.

LOGAN — The saga of the Logan medical marijuana dispensary finally came to an end Tuesday as five City Council members voted to override a mayor’s veto objecting to a dispensary opening in town.

While Logan City Mayor Greg Fraunfelter tried his best to deter the medical marijuana dispensary from opening, he failed to convince the majority of City Council.

For CannAscend, the state-licensed company which has sought to open the Main Street dispensary, the victory was met by a round of applause when the mayor’s veto was overridden.

“CannAscend is incredibly thankful and appreciative for the leadership of the Logan City Council who spent the last five months asking questions, listening, and having an in-depth conversation about medical marijuana,” stated Ian James, CannAscend’s head of corporate development.

“In the end, the Logan City Council took the appropriate steps to repeal the medical marijuana ban, and give Hocking County patients the ability to get the medical marijuana they need and deserve, and do so closer to home,” James continued. “That didn’t happen overnight — it only happened when people of good will worked for the betterment of the community.”

According to James, CannAscend hired eight local staff members, who are now completing their training prior to the opening of the dispensary. He noted CannAscend is continuing its work with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to complete its pre-inspection process, and then getting on the Board of Pharmacy’s schedule for the final inspection.

“The Board is working incredibly hard to get through all the inspections of dispensaries and the control processes across the state,” James told The Logan Daily News. “We will announce the opening of the dispensary at a later date. We look forward to holding a ribbon-cutting soon and serving the patients in the region immediately after that.”

Altogether, CannAscend has four dispensaries throughout Ohio — in Logan, Dayton, Marietta and Monroe.

James told The Logan Daily News that he grew up in Athens and came to understand the importance of advocacy and coalition building.

“Being home in the Hocking Valley these last several months, I had the privilege of working alongside a doggedly determined team who followed a focused strategy of speaking-out for patients to educate decision makers and promote voter advocacy,” he added.

CannAscend first received its license in mid-2018. However, the company had to overcome a Logan ordinance prohibiting cultivation, processing or retail dispensing of medical marijuana in the city, which Logan City Council had passed in 2017.

Council members repealed that ban earlier this year, but Mayor Fraunfelter exercised his veto power. However, the Ohio Revised Code allows for a Council to override that veto if a two-thirds majority vote is reached.

Tuesday’s vote was 5-2, enough to override the veto.

* * * Debra Tobin is the editor of The Logan Daily News.

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