SUNNYSIDE — People who may be looking at moving to town should be made fully aware that the community continues to voice support for the prohibition of retail sales of marijuana, and following last Thursday’s City Council Special Meeting, extinguished any idea for officials to lift the quality of life ban.
The council’s roll call vote at 7:40 p.m. was 5-2 in favor of maintaining the city-wide ban prohibiting retail sales of marijuana. Council members Craig Hicks, Dean Broersma, Jim Restucci, Ron Stremler and Mayor Julia Hart voted against the proposed Marijuana Control Ordinance.
Councilman John Henry and Deputy Mayor Francisco Guerrero voted in support of the failed motion to lift the retail pot restriction.
More than 70 people attended June 6, the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
The day of remembrance, embraced by many in attendance, commemorated the Western Allies of World War II and their historic seaborne invasion of Normandy, located on the northern coast of France in 1944.
After council returned from a 30-minute Executive Session with their legal counsel, they proceeded to the next item on the agenda, the Marijuana Control Ordinance.
Mayor Julia Hart read aloud standard meeting disclosure to the audience requesting their objections to any of the council members taking part in the meeting.
Mike Farmer and Jim Stevens each stepped up to the microphone lectern and stated their concerns regarding Henry’s ability to be fair and impartial due to his past employment affiliation with David Rand, who owns a store from which he intended to sell retail marijuana.
Kyle Southwick stated his objection to Hicks’ attendance at the Planning Commission’s public hearing on drafting the potential ordinance.
Hearing no further public objections, the mayor asked the council if they had any conflicts of interest and hearing none, the public hearing was opened.
What followed was an hour of community testimony, where community members of all ages provided their candid insights and heartfelt feelings. Engaging stories, poignant comments and a wide spectrum of emotions were shared as every seat in the chamber was taken.
Retired Marine Sgt. Southwick spoke on behalf of the benefits of medical marijuana and accessibility concerns to relieve sudden and severe panic attack symptoms when dealing with three combat tours in Iraq.
“It’s unfair to ask me to drive 20 minutes in any direction when I’m having a panic attack — when my anxieties are off the wall,” the former 12-year active duty veteran stated.
At 7:19 p.m. the public hearing was closed, and elected officials began their deliberations on reconsidering the issue that began in 2018.
The theme of comments led by Restucci was the issue will inevitably be brought up again, and everyone will have to go through the entire public process.
“There’s no such thing as a permanent ban in this state, we are going to have to revisit the issue again,” he declared.