LEIPSIC — For the first time since its introduction four weeks ago, members of the Leipsic Village Council formally discussed an ordinance which would ban the cultivation and processing of medical marijuana, as well as retail dispensaries.

Newly sworn in to his seat on council, Councilor Jason Goodwin opened debate on the matter just as council prepared to vote on, and likely approve, the third and final reading of the ordinance.

“Can we table that?” Goodwin asked, then added, “Or we can have a conversation right here.”

Mayor Tony Wobler then encouraged Goodwin to speak.

“I’ve looked into it, and I’ve seen there are a lot of benefits to it,” Goodwin said. “I don’t know that I want to eliminate that option to residents, if someone should happen to want to come to the village and start a business here. I can be persuaded either way.”

Councilor Sue Christman queried Goodwin as to the nature of his research, specifically asking if he’d spoken with the administrations of any Putnam County villages.

“I contacted some representatives of towns that have dispensaries,” Goodwin said, identifying the cities of Maumee and Marion as points of contact. “I asked if they’d noticed any negative impacts. They said they haven’t. They’re just a quiet little business in their towns.”

Goodwin then focused specifically on what some health professionals have proposed are the medical benefits to marijuana.

“From what I read there are a lot of good benefits for cancer patients, severe cases of epilepsy, PTSD … they’re using it to treat a lot of things,” Goodwin said.

“I have no qualms about the medical part of it,” Councilor Sue Schroeder responded. “It’s whether or not we want to have a dispensary here in the village.”

Village Solicitor Barry Schroeder then offered background, the reason why the ordinance was presented to council. Schroeder said there was an inquiry as to whether or not the village would allow a medical marijuana facility within its limits.

“They’re probably inquiring of hundreds of locations,” Schroeder said. “It doesn’t mean they’re going to come here. They’re trying to see what’s available to them. They’re going to go to whatever location fits them. They’re just trying to see what the groundwork is, where the appetite is where people may be okay with this. It doesn’t mean we have an active agency or entity trying to put one here tomorrow.”

Councilor Rick Recker then posited a question raised in other council meetings throughout the county.

“If the State of Ohio changes their rules, and say they legalize marijuana, since we’ve already passed it, does that automatically allow for any other kind of dispensaries?” he asked.

Schroeder assured council they would have ultimate authority as to what kind of dispensary could operate within the village, that they could limit such an enterprise to medical marijuana alone.

Rather than debate the matter further, council opted to table the ordinance until its next meeting, allowing for further research into the issue.

In other business, council:

• re-elected Dave Heitmeyer as council president pro tem.

• approved the third and final reading of a resolution awarding the bid for the Ruhe Park Pavilion project to Ward Construction at an estimated cost of $160,916.

The next regular meeting of the Leipsic Village Council is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the municipal building.