On Monday, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan proposed legislation that would regulate any potential medical marijuana facilities, including dispensaries or grow houses, within the city limits.

The move is ahead the State of Ohio issuing licenses to businesses for cultivation, processing, testing, and despensing of medical marijuana. 

In his proposed regulations, Mayor Horrigan outlines guidelines that restrict any medical marijuana facility operating within 500 feet of a school, church, library, playground, or park, and requires City Council to issue a special conditional use of medical marijuana business before it can operate in the city. The ordinance also implements a melti-step local licensing process and give cart blanche to Akron Police to inspect any medical marijuana facility at any time. 

Back in September of 2016, one month after the State of Ohio passed medical marijuana statewide, Mayor Horrigan placed a one-year moratorium on the "issuance or processing of any license, building permit, certificate of occupancy, conditional use or other authorization that would enable the cultivation, processing, or dispensing of medical marijuana within the City of Akron." 

A public hearing before Akron City Council regarding the proposed zoning regulation of medical marijuana factilities is scheduled for Monday, May 1. 

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With the state licensing process about to get underway for Ohio's medical marijuana facilities, the City of Akron is getting ready to implement rules of its own.

A package of rules unveiled Monday would keep medical marijuana facilities at least 500 feet from any Akron school, park, playground, library, or church. It would also require the facilities to receive approval from City Council to operate and would implement an annual licensing and fee structure.

Ellen Lander Nischt, Assistant Director of Law and spokesperson for the City of Akron, joined Jasen to talk about the proposal and explain that Akron is not trying to regulate the medical marijuana industry out of Akron.

(City of Akron) (Monday), Mayor Horrigan introduced legislation to Akron City Council that would heavily regulate potential medical marijuana facilities in the City of Akron, in anticipation of the State of Ohio’s issuance of licenses to businesses for cultivation, processing, testing, and dispensing of medical marijuana across the State. The proposed regulations would prevent facilities from locating in residential areas, or within 500 feet of a school, church, library, playground, or park, and require Council to issue a special conditional use to a medical marijuana business before it can operate in the City limits. Additionally, the ordinance would implement a multi-step local licensing process and allow the Akron Police to inspect any medical marijuana facility at any time.

In September of 2016, Mayor Horrigan introduced, and Akron City Council passed, a one-year moratorium on the “issuance or processing of any license, building permit, certificate of occupancy, conditional use or other authorization that would enable the cultivation, processing, or dispensing of medical marijuana within the City of Akron.” The moratorium was issued to enable the City to study and review the new Ohio medical marijuana law (H.B. 523) and other applicable zoning, business, and criminal laws and regulations. Today’s ordinance is the result of the City’s careful study of the new Ohio law, and decision to strictly regulate these businesses, should they seek to locate in Akron.

“The Ohio General Assembly established a system to allow Ohio residents to access medical marijuana, with their physician’s recommendation, to treat serious medical conditions like cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy,” Mayor Horrigan said. “Recognizing that medical marijuana will now be legal across Ohio, we felt it necessary to enact additional local restrictions that will limit where medical marijuana businesses can locate in Akron and give us greater control over licensing, regulating, and inspecting these facilities to make sure they are being operated in a legal, appropriate, and safe way. The goal of this ordinance is to allow patients to access legal medical treatment while ensuring that these facilities do not have any unwanted impact on our neighborhoods. We will continue to enforce existing criminal laws and will closely monitor the impact of this new law to safeguard the health, safety and vitality of the entire community.”

The City also created a two-page fact sheet outlining the new Ohio law and how it will impact Akron, available at https://goo.gl/Ck0GoJ. A public hearing before City Council regarding the proposed zoning regulation of medical marijuana facilities is scheduled for Monday, May 1, 2017.

Published in Jasen Sokol

Ohio's Attorney General Mike DeWine is considering filing criminal charges against Akron City Councilman Bob Hoch in connection to an ethics complaint filed back in 2015. 

The complaint references Hoch's voting on certain legislation that benefitted his two sons who are both Akron firefighters. It was filed by a former city administration that had been involved in a public dispute with Hoch regarding his outspokenness on issues that directly related to the city fire department. 

After an investigation by the Ohio Ethics Committee, the case has been turned over to the Attorney General's Office and a spokesperson says their prosecutors are involved. 

Hoch, who has been on the Akron City Council since 2012, denied that there was any conflict of interest on his part. 

Published in Local
Tuesday, 13 September 2016 09:13

Akron Puts Hold On Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana passed as state law and officially went effective on September 8th of this year. While the state still has a lot of work to do as far as securing approval for licenses to prescribe marijuana as medication and permits for dispensaries, the city of Akron says it needs more time to get the law straight. 

On Monday night, Akron City Council approved a year-long moratorium on the state Medical Marijuana law. Councilman Jeff Fusco says the timetable is flexible, but the council believes more time is needed to see how Akron will take part in the statewide law. Fusco says the moratorium will give the city a chance to figure out "what's best for Akron in terms of the grow operations, processing, (and) dispensing of medical marijuana" within the city. 

Hear the entire interview from the Ray Horner Morning Show by clicking the player below: 


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A 10-3 vote in Akron city council approved the construction of a new cell phone tower on the west side of downtown. It was not the most popular decision among those in council, but it passed nonetheless.

Councilman Rich Swirsky was very vocal about the approval, and he voiced his displeasure on the Ray Horner Morning Show. Swirsky wasn't opposed to alternative sites for the cell tower, or even a different structure, but he feels it will become an "eyesore" over on West Market Street, across from the Akron Family Restaurant.

Swirsky also believes most in council were not in favor of the move, but voted for the measure so as to not get caught up in a legal battle down the road.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER

The man who served as Ellet's city council member for over 30 years has passed away.

City of Akron officials says they're lowering city flags at half staff in honor of Bob Otterman, who finished his 41 years of public servant as a state representative until retiring in 2011.

Mayor Dan Horrigan says that Otterman's "dedicated life of public service" is a model for all to follow.

Council member at large Jeff Fusco tells WAKR.net that all of Akron and beyond knew Otterman for his service to the community.

Otterman passed away Friday at the age of 84.

(City of Akron news release) Former Akron Councilman Robert J. Otterman passed away this afternoon. He was 84.

Mayor Dan Horrigan is requesting flags bearing the City of Akron Seal be lowered to half-staff immediately in memory of the longtime public servant. Otterman retired five years ago in 2011 after a 41-year career in public service. He served as a teacher, counselor, councilman and state representative.

"Bob's legacy will continue to live on in the lives of those he served, taught and motivated to enter politics and help their communities," said Mayor Horrigan.

"His dedicated life of public service is a model for all of us to follow. Bob will be missed," added the Mayor.

"I served with Bob on City Council for years. When I first joined Council, Bob was a Council-at-Large; member. He was a champion for the schools, youth, and active adults. He was there for everyone...Bob was a true servant and gave his all," added John Valle, Director of the Department of Neighborhood Assistance.

Council-at-Large member Jeff Fusco, shared his thoughts, "Bob helped the new people on Council learn the landscape. He showed us the importance of knowing the city, state and schools inside and out, it was amazing to me how much he knew. Bob epitomized what a councilman should be – working with his colleagues on council, working with the community and the administration to get things done. He was
beloved by the community."

It has been locally documented that Otterman ran for City Council Ward 6 seat in 1969 at the encouragement of students enrolled in his U.S. government class at Ellet High School. He won the seat and went on to serve the residents of Ellet for more than 30 years. Otterman served the 45th District of the Ohio House of Representatives from 2008 to 2011.

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A threat of possible legal action brought Akron City Council to a special meeting on Monday, over the constitutionality of the city's pandhandling laws.

City council member at large Jeff Fusco would only say the city will look at the issue, brought up in a letter to the city by the ACLU of Ohio...

"It's gonna take a little bit of time obviously to review that," Fusco tells WAKR.net, "and to go out and seek what's best in terms of the city of Akron moving forward."

Attorney Joseph Mead in Akron wrote the letter for the ACLU of Ohio, which says the city's had time to review it already.

"We sent them a letter outlining all of the legal cases that I could find for years and years back in January," Mead tells WAKR.net, "and so, they've had a while to look at this, and I think they need to move quickly or we're going to ask a court to decide."

Mead says a number of courts have struck down similar pandhandling laws elsewhere on first amendment grounds.

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Longtime Akron City Councilman Mike Williams attended his final meeting Monday night after serving 28-years on city council.

Williams had to choose between running for mayor and running for re-election for his at-large seat.

But he wouldn't change a thing -- including his decision to run for mayor.

"The only regrets you have in life are the things you didn't try and that you didn't go for," said Williams. "It was very important to me. It's something that I always wanted to do.

Williams said he's still not sure what's in store for the future, but he plans to stay active in the community.

"This community has been wonderful to my family and it our obligation to give back, and it's the same thing I've taught my children."

The other members leaving council this year include Jack Hefner, DeAndre Forney and Jim Hurley who lost his seat in the primary.


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Ray Horner talks to outgoing councilman Mike Williams about the ending of his 28 year career. Williams tells Ray about the outstanding support he has recieved and how he has made it through 28 years as a councilman. 

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER