YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A group of Youngstown churches says medical marijuana isn’t the right move for the city, even though the group is not completely opposed to the drug.
Al Yanno, with NOW Youngstown, thinks medical marijuana is fine if it’s legally passed and screened.
“I don’t think it’s ever a good idea in this city to have any type of drug, such as marijuana, reproduced in a city that is going through major drug addiction issues,” he said.
Yanno and his organization say city council should back away from the proposals to locate grow operations within city limits. Last month, five companies expressed interest in setting up shop in Youngstown.
He believes the plants could lead to more crime and drug abuse.
NOW Youngstown organizers say the proposals overstated the benefits of grow operations. Critics of the plants say the risks are too great and that Youngstown should be pursuing other economic projects.
“Those are the kinds of initiatives that are sold. Those are the kinds of initiatives that we can see happening throughout Youngstown, so let’s go there instead of attempting to find some quick fix to a major economic issue in Youngstown,” said Gary Frost, with the Mission America Coalition.
Frost said he thinks children will be impacted the most.
“This is a very ethical issue and regards our children, so I hope no one turns it off because we have some preachers standing in front of you.”
He said with the way the state initiative is worded, Ohio leaders have paved the way for “edible” marijuana — which he said targets a much younger crowd.
“We’re talking about candy and cookies. We’re talking about selling that on the street corners of Hillman Avenue and McGuffey. This is not just a matter of medical marijuana, it’s smoke and mirrors.”
Organizers say they want to urge city council to think again about the marijuana proposals. That’s why NOW Youngstown is holding a community meeting at the Newport Library on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the issue.