Monday night’s City Council meeting featured the receipt of the Planning Commission’s recommendations and code amendments related to the retail sales of marijuana within the city limits — after a series of public meeting continuations and a public hearing about the issue, which did not generate much community discussion or concern, is alarming.

In 2015, Sunnyside residents overwhelming voted to prohibit the retail sales, processing and production of marijuana and now, four years later, what has changed to allow for the industry to take root in Sunnyside.

Last year, the Council began deliberating on lifting the prohibition of marijuana sales and exploring the establishment of an ordinance to allow the business to operate.

The Planning Commission had a public hearing on Tuesday, April 9, and only a handful of the public provided testimony.

The Planning Commission drafted an ordinance and accepted location, legal and signage amendments with a 5-1 vote in favor for presentation to Council for consideration.

What was once a contested issue is now waiting for a map from Yakima County GIS that would accurately show how the additional buffer areas would impact properties acceptable.

Following the City Council’s deliberations on Monday night and without any public voice, city officials are one step closer to deciding if retail marijuana shops will open in Sunnyside with a vote which now may take place on Monday, May 13.

Perhaps, more municipal government transparency is required to ensure the public’s voice of concerns are heard.

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