German Township trustees are receptive to a proposal by a former resident to grow marijuana there for medicinal purposes. But first they want the community’s opinion.
At the trustees’ meeting held May 22, Dr. Martha Hackett and her son, Oscar Hackett, a Harvard law graduate, presented a plan to construct a 43,400 square-foot marijuana greenhouse on 20 acres of property she owns at County Road 24 near County Road G.
A former resident of German Township, Dr. Hackett is proposing that her son’s company, Greenleaf Gardens, construct a greenhouse there to grow marijuana for medical purposes. Almost 25,000 square feet of the space would be used for cultivation by about 40 employees.
The trustees will hold an open meeting to garner public opinion today at 7 p.m. at the Ruihley Park Pavilion in Archbold. The Hacketts will attend.
If the project goes forward, it would be the first operation to cultivate and process medical marijuana in Fulton County. Several local communities have passed resolutions voicing opposition to the practice in their areas since Gov. John Kasich signed a strictly-regulated medical marijuana law last June.
Township Trustee Bruce Lauber said he was wholly against medical marijuana until he heard the Hacketts’ presentation. He said it educated him on the process that removes the drug’s psychoactive properties, on the safeguards used, and on the benefits to recipients.
“I was better informed. A lot of the fears I have are gone,” he said. “I am softening my opinion and I want to know how the general population feels about it.”
Lauber said he and the other trustees haven’t agreed to the project, “but we’re receptive to the meetings. We have to do what the people want to do.”
He said the trustees passed a resolution three months ago opposing medical marijuana growing and processing in the township “only to protect ourselves from cultivators.” He said the resolution can be rescinded.
Trustee Randy Ruffer said he also was ignorant about medical marijuana until the Hacketts’ presentation, and now feels more optimistic about the proposal. But he wants to know more.
“I need more light on it,” he said. “The drug thing is a big issue, and I’m very concerned about that. But when they say it’s for medical use, I’m interested.”
Ruffer said he plans to conduct his own research on medical marijuana and further investigate the greenhouse project. He said his concerns that it would attract a criminal element were somewhat allayed when the Hacketts assured the trustees the facility would be heavily secured.
“I want to hear more of what they have to say, and what the people think,” he said. “If we can save (patients’) lives, and get people on the right track, I’m for that.”
Dr. Hackett, a former German Township resident who owns a medical practice in Mentor, Ohio, was raised at the proposed greenhouse site. She said through research she has discovered impressive healing qualities of medical marijuana. Among them are easing the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis.
“It’s a medical thing. And that is where we’re going to find the benefit,” Dr. Hackett said. “There’s so much healing we can offer people. Medical cannabis is something we probably need to all awaken to the possibility (of)…and take it seriously as a source of effective medication.”
Among its benefits is easing the anxiety of heroin users fighting to break their addiction, she said.
“In my medical practice we’re losing kids left and right to this heroin epidemic. If this is helping these kids to find an inner cause, I’m in,” she said.
Dr. Hackett said she won’t try to convince German Township residents of the drug’s benefits. “My goal is to share with them my present thinking and invite them to go do their own research,” she said.
She chose the township site for the greenhouse because “it’s my home. I was taught to do good. I want to bring a quality product to the area.”
Archbold Administrator Donna Dettling attended the trustees’ meeting but was unavailable for comment. Mayor Jeff Fryman declined comment on the proposal and medical marijuana, saying he isn’t informed enough about the project or the processing operation.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.