Ravenna: Cannabis Shop Lacks Required Permits

Ravenna: Cannabis Shop Lacks Required Permits
Posted by FoM on December 01, 1999 at 08:02:09 PT
By Colette M. Jenkins 
Source: Akron Beacon Journal
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has put the cart before the horse with its plans to open a boutique in downtown Ravenna, Mayor Paul Jones says. Still, he said, city requirements being imposed on NORML's Northcoast chapter are not intended to keep the boutique from opening.
``Unfortunately, he has gone and set up shop without the necessary approval that he needs from the city,'' Jones said of John Hartman, NORML president. ``We're going to keep a very watchful eye on what they are proposing.''But Hartman said he believes the city is trying to stall the opening with bureaucratic tactics.``My gut instinct tells me that the mayor is trying to delay this as long as possible,'' Hartman said. ``We're just a little boutique and nonprofit organization. Our basic agenda is to allow marijuana to be available to people who may benefit from its use under supervision of a doctor.''In addition to providing information related to marijuana law reform, the shop would work to increase the organization's membership base and sell products including NORML logo items, books, incense, hemp products, 1960s clothing, vintage rock 'n' roll art, posters, jewelry, lava lamps, tie-dye T-shirts and wall hangings. All proceeds would go to the organization's legal defense fund, Hartman said.``NORML does not promote cannabis use but believes that adults who use cannabis responsibly shouldnt face criminal or civil sanctions,'' Hartman said. ``The Ravenna community has nothing to fear from NORML, because we promote personal responsibility.''Jones said the city first became aware that the organization was planning to open a shop at 113 N. Chestnut St., next door to the Chamber of Commerce, when the group appeared before the Design Review Commission last month for approval of its sign. The request was denied because neon signs are not allowed in the historic district.NORML will not be able to open its doors until it has approval from the Planning Commission -- which Jones chairs -- and the Design Review Commission.It also will need an occupancy permit from the Building Department and an inspection by the Fire Department. In addition, Jones, as safety director, will require criminal background checks of all employees.It is the same process followed for all retail businesses, including door-to-door salespeople, planning to operate in the city, Jones said.NORML wants to open in Ravenna because the person Hartman plans to hire lives in Mantua, and Ravenna is easily accessible to people who live in Portage County. He said the organization simply is expanding its operation.The organization already operates a shop in Lakewood, where the chapter is based, called The Cannabis Connection. A shop in Dayton closed after being open for almost a year. A shop in Toledo is planned.Because Ravenna is a more conservative community, Hartman said, the local shop would be called The NORML Shop.Jones, however, is not convinced that the shop will be harmless.In fact, he sent a letter to the landlord of the building, stating ``Quite frankly, I am surprised that you would choose to rent to such a group and allow them to set up business before all approvals are given. . . . Could you rethink this? I really don't think it promotes the city of Ravenna in the way that we are seeking to promote it.''The landlord, Eric Hummel of Riddle-Portage Management, could not be reached for comment.Jones said he will keep an open mind when Hartman brings his proposal to the Planning Commission later this month. He said he is interested in knowing whether any products dealing with marijuana will be sold and the exact mission of the organization.``I guess it remains to be seen whether there is a market in Ravenna for what they want to do,'' Jones said. ``But we will hear them out, and they will be required to follow the same process that other businesses follow.''Published Wednesday, December 1, 1999The Beacon Journal Publishing Co.North Coast NORML A Better Ohio
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Comment #3 posted by John on December 28, 1999
 at 05:19:58 PT:
This story from the Akron Beacon Journal reported we didn't have our permits. NCNORML complyed with all the requirements that the city's building inspector informed us of.First thing we did was go to the building inspector and ask him want we had to do to obtain an occupancy permit. We had the fire department inspection and went before the design and review committee. Then out of the blue we were informed that we would have to go before the planning Comm
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Comment #2 posted by John on December 04, 1999 at 08:09:48 PT:
If anyone has had to deal with a city regarding zoning or policies regarding opening a business you won't besurprised about this news article. Now just add the fact that the business promotes the legalization of cannabis.Don't worry we are going to open. We just have to jump through all the hoops first
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Comment #1 posted by greenfox on December 02, 1999 at 06:53:02 PT:
I know John
John Hartman is a great guy. For anyone that lives in Ohio, you can thank him for the decrim efforts. If it weren't for him, a joint would land you in jail. Support this man & his cause. Support NORML!
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