Crawford continues marijuana ordinance debate to Oct. 4
By Randy Sunderland
Published Thursday, October 5, 2017 9:18 am
The Crawford Town Board was expecting to do the first reading of a marijuana ordinance at its work session on Sept. 20. When it became apparent that it was incomplete and trustees had more questions than answers, the matter was tabled and placed on the agenda for its regular meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
As discussion began, former mayor Jim Crook asked the board, "Please refresh us on ordinance procedure." Mayor Wanda Gofforth replied, "It takes two readings of the ordinance, it has to be published, and it takes effect 30 days after approval."
She proceeded to lead a discussion among trustees of the ordinance, explaining that "we have to establish an ordinance before we can even try to enforce the state's rules."
Instead of adopting and reading the ordinance into the record, there were many questions from trustees about enforcement procedures, how many plants would be allowed, and defining a locked structure. At one point the mayor said they could still proceed and town attorney Jim Brown would make corrections, or could amend the ordinance.
Trustee John Paton asked, "Is it decided that this will require an enforcement officer, a court? When did we decide this?"
Gofforth responded, "This is what the ordinance defines."
Chriss Johnson noted the proposed ordinance involves taking complaints to district court and involving the town attorney.
Gofforth explained that a citation would include a provision that the town would recover court costs if it prevails.
"Is this standard procedure?" asked trustee Jeff Peed.
"Yes," said Gofforth.
"No," said Johnson. "because we do not have a municipal court."
Paton added, "It is not assured the court would award court costs."
After further discussion Johnson said, "Theoretically I am for this, but I wonder how it will work ... I don't see any teeth here."
As it became apparent the proposed ordinance was not in final form, the board decided to continue the discussion at its Oct. 4 meeting. It will also consider changes to its nuisance ordinance as well.