City leaders in Yreka will move forward with data collection and community hearing on the issue of cannabis dispensaries.
Following public comments at a recent City Council meeting where Elizabeth Tabor, who operates marijuana dispensaries in Weed and Mount Shasta, implored officials to consider a measure that would open the door to the legal operation of dispensaries in the city.
“I don’t want to just go back and talk about it. I want figures before we see each other. I want to see the revenue figures,” Councilman Paul McCoy told his fellow councilors.
“We’ll collect the data and come back with the data, and then you can tell us for more data or other information,” said Jason Ledbetter, Yreka City Director.
The issue of marijuana has long been a source of controversy at the Siskiyou County headquarters, where it remains largely illegal. Previous community discussions provoked significant public involvement, with some of the existing board members giving a negative opinion on the issue. In 2018, Joan Smith Freeman, then mayor of the city and a candidate for re-election to the council, declared, “We don’t want this element in our community,” according to Siskiyou Daily News coverage at the time.
Although to be fair, public opinion on marijuana has evolved around an industry that is heavily regulated and taxed. And the revenue possibilities around the incorporation of a new industry in the city could be enough to increase the interests of the council, especially because the city assumes new expenses related to the maintenance of infrastructure related to a rehabilitation project of the city. main street with new sidewalks, planters, pedestrian crossings, streetlights and more. But also, as the city is considering the costs of operating and maintaining a new aquatic center.
The city plans to bring the issue of the new pool to voters in November to let them decide if they want to raise the sales tax to generate funding for the operation and maintenance of the pool.
Aside from the pool, in recent meetings with the city council and the city’s finance committee, Ledbetter has introduced a number of new expenses, from rising salaries to rising maintenance costs. ‘building and employee benefit packages. These budget pressures could be enough to persuade the council to take a second look at the cannabis business.
“We need to discuss both sides of this issue,” said Mayor Duane Kegg. “There are a lot of things, both ways, that we need to discuss.”
Skip Descant is a freelance journalist. He has written for newspapers in California, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. He lives in the center of Yreka.