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Akron Planners Try to Block Medical Marijuana Dispensary Downtown

46 S. Summit St.
Greenleaf wants to set up its dispensary in what's now a vacant building at 46 S. Summit St. in Akron

Despite a top rating from the state and support of the ward councilmember, Akron’s planning department is trying to stop a medical marijuana dispensary from opening in downtown. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports

Greenleaf Apothecaries wants to set up its dispensary in a now vacant three-story office building on S. Summit Street. Under city law, any medical marijuana business must get a conditional use permit. And the city Planning Department is trying to block Greenleaf from that location, saying it doesn’t fit in the arts and entertainment district.

At a recent meeting of the Akron Planning Commission, Greenleaf outlined its plans, including details on transportation and security. It’s rated among the top of the nearly five dozen proposal the state has approved for dispensaries. It also had the support of Rich Swirsky, whose ward includes the location.

“If we are going to get 17 local jobs, if we are going to provide medical assistance to our residents, why would we object to a highly secure and unobtrusive facility?”

The planning commission is expected to revisit the proposal in July, but it is unlikely to go before City Council for a vote until September. The state had planned to allow medical marijuana to go on sale Sept. 8, but acknowledges it won’t be ready.

M.L. Schultze is a freelance journalist. She spent 25 years at The Repository in Canton where she was managing editor for nearly a decade, then served as WKSU's news director and digital editor until her retirement.