Pot expert urges Portsmouth

By Nikki Blankenship - [email protected]

Marijuana advocate and expert says the City of Portsmouth has just days to make a decision on dispensary legislation.

Cheryl Shuman has worked with government entities across the state and country on medical marijuana legislation. Originally from Portsmouth, she moved to California to work and is now here in Portsmouth hoping to see Portsmouth benefit from medicinal marijuana in ways she has seen other communities.

“I have never smoked a cigarette. I have never drank a beer. I have never taken an illegal drug. I used cannabis when I was in end-of-life-care, and it saved my life, so I became a huge cannabis activist,” Shuman said. “I’ve built most of the companies that are in this business. I have been involved with every regulation campaign since from proposition 215 all the way up until present day.”

Shuman explained that cannabis can not only heal various medical issues, it has been proven as effect treatment for opiate addiction.

“Not only can it heal a multitude of illnesses, it can heal our economy,” she stressed.

She explained that Denver is an example of such financial success, stating that legislation can be written so that revenue from the medicinal marijuana industry can go to funding needed community programs and projects.

“This is a legitimate medicine. This is a plant that can rebuild this town,” she explained.

In addition to the potential to open a dispensary, Shuman said she would like to see the area get involved in testing and training, saying the are could generate millions or even hundreds of millions in new revenue.

Under law, every strand of cannibals must be tested. The State is only allowing universities to become testing centers. Thus, she explained Shawnee could apply to be a testing centers.

In addition to Raphael Mechoulam, an organic chemist and the pioneer of cannabis research, Shuman says she has the top experts in the world on her board and is ready invest here.

Her fear is that Portsmouth will miss out because they will miss the deadline. According to State guidelines, there would be one dispensary allotted for the region, which includes Scioto, Lawrence, Jackson and Gallia counties. The State, however, ultimately decides where the dispensary is located. However, the City could choose to take themselves out of the pool by banning a dispensary. Additionally, if Portsmouth is the only city in the area permitting a dispensary, it would likely be the location.

The State is requiring dispensaries to pay a $5,000 application and have $250,000 in escrow, an investment Shuman is prepared to make in order to see success in Portsmouth. She is just waiting to see how the City votes.

The City of Portsmouth stood in favor of medicinal marijuana at the last City Council meeting when they authorized Solicitor John Haas to look into legislation permitting a marijuana dispensary within the City. However, the next step for the City is to add the legislation to the City Council agenda. It must then be read at three meetings before the legislation can pass unless the City votes to suspend the three reading rule and pass the legislation as an emergency.

According to Shuman, the State is expected to decide locations of dispensaries, testing facilities and training centers by the end of the month.

Portsmouth City Council will meet again at 6 p.m., on Sept. 25 at the Municipal Building on Second Street in Portsmouth.

By Nikki Blankenship

[email protected]

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.