Girard council overrides mayor’s veto on medical marijuana

GIRARD — City Council voted 7-0 Monday night to override Mayor Jim Melfi’s veto of an ordinance that would allow medical marijuana cultivation facilities and dispensaries to operate in the city.

Melfi said he was not surprised.

“I accept the outcome,” he said. “We can now continue on with city business.”

Melfi earlier this month vetoed legislation council passed, saying, “It sends the wrong message to our community, particularly our young people.”

“More than 30 years ago we had a president’s wife saying, ‘Just say no’ to drugs. It does not sit well with me for the city to profit from this by saying ‘yes.’ It is not a place where we should be,” Melfi said.

The ordinance establishes a licensing protocol and other guidelines to regulate those type of businesses should any apply to locate within the city. One requirement is a $5,000 fee.

Councilman at-Large John Moliterno said, “We felt we needed to have something in place with fees, guidelines and the steps. Simply having it in place and having steps to follow will protect the people of the city while also trying to encourage economic development.”

Council President Reynald Paolone said there are people who have problems with fibromyalgia, nausea from chemotherapy or post-traumatic stress disorder, and medical marijuana has helped them.

“I and council saw this as something to help people. It never had anything to do with recreational marijuana. The state has made it legal and this is a way we can help people,” Paolone said.

He said the ordinance sets the city’s parameters for such establishments.

“We are saying if you want to put a dispensary here, that is fine, but here are the rules,” Paolone said.