MANSFIELD, Ohio -- A former Morrow County Sheriff's Office detective asked Mansfield City Council to consider banning the cultivation, processing and dispensing of medical marijuana within city limits during a council meeting Tuesday night.
Brandon Moore was a Morrow County detective who spent a decade in law enforcement. On Oct. 21, 2010, he responded to a reported disturbance, an argument over property use.
When he arrived, he was told there was an illegal marijuana grow on the site.
The grower, Shane Roush, fired at Moore, striking him four times in the groin, ribs, left leg and left foot.
"(It) turned into attempted murder where a man tried to take my life and the life of three civilians who were there on the property showing me where this marijuana was being cultivated," Moore said. "I went from keeping the peace until a uniformed officer could get there to fighting for my life, literally, with having had several high-velocity rounds pass through my body."
Roush, whom Moore shot in the legs, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty in 2011 to charges of attempted murder and felonious assault. In 2012, he was sentenced to another 25 years on a federal charge of cultivating marijuana, to be served concurrently.
"That took place because he was, according to what he felt, protecting his marijuana grow," Moore said. "He said in his interrogation that he felt that he was going to lose everything because of this investigation that was taking place. And this was because of illegal marijuana."
Moore said he fears allowing the cultivation and dispensing of legal marijuana in the community.
"If legalized marijuana were to come to our area, I believe that the concerns are rightly placed that illegal marijuana would also prosper. Availability increases," he said. "If we look around, we see youth having pill parties. And they don't go to the corner store and pick those up. They're diverted from people who have rightful prescriptions."
Moore said he knows most people think marijuana is not a dangerous drugs, but he says it can be.
"While there may very well be beneficial aspects inside of marijuana, I think that medical science needs to find those benefits within there and refine it, dose it and treat accordingly," he said. "I think it would be an opening of Pandora's box if we just start legalizing marijuana in its current form."
Richland Community Prayer Network coordinator Ben Mutti said a resolution was prepared and presented to council Tuesday in hopes of future legislation being presented to council on the topic.
The resolution calls for the ban of the cultivation, processing and dispensing of medical marijuana in Mansfield but would not affect the use of medical marijuana with a prescription.
"Banning cultivation, processing and dispensing does not relate to the use or possession of medical marijuana by a patient or to a qualified physician's ability to recommend medical marijuana to a patient," Mutti said." So we're all talking about tonight is just the cultivation, the processing and also the dispensing of medical marijuana."
Mutti said Washington, Springfield, Franklin and Sandusky townships have enacted similar prohibitions.
"We believe strongly the black market prospers and the crime bosses abound with, whenever marijuana, specifically medical marijuana, is allowed to be used," Mutti said.
Mutti also presented a letter signed by 70 Richland County pastors calling for the prohibition of the cultivation, processing and dispensing of medical marijuana.
Ohio legalized medical marijuana in September 2016 to allow people with some medical conditions to purchase and use the drug with the recommendation of an Ohio-licensed physician.
Mansfield resident Deborah Mount asked council not to allow the cultivation and dispensing of medical marijuana in the city.
"You all know we have an opioid epidemic that's very severe, and for the most part, it started with legal drugs," she said. "Even if medical marijuana is legal now, consider what has occurred from legal drugs, what it has resulted in, what people have gone to. What will the effect be of allowing even more access? We already have a drug and crime problem bad enough in our area, and I ask that you please not make it worse."
In June, Ontario City Council approved a similar six-month ban on medical marijuana cultivators and retail dispensaries within city limits.
The vote came after Ontario council previously killed a proposal from a medical marijuana cultivation company that would have brought more than 40 jobs to the city.
As it is now, the Ontario ban ends Dec. 21.