Marijuana question may be on the ballot

By Pat Sunderland

During the municipal election in April, the issue of marijuana sales in the City of Delta frequently cropped up. Most questions were prompted by two ballot measures concerning the taxation of retail marijuana and retail marijuana products -- if in the future those sales were allowed. Both measures passed by about a 60-40 margin.

After discussing the issue at length with his constituents, newly-elected council member Nathan Clay suggests it's time to go back to the voters, this time to ask if marijuana sales should be allowed in the City of Delta.

"The sales tax question passed overwhelmingly," he said. "I think that's evidence that citizens are not as afraid of marijuana sales as some people think they are."

His comments took some council members by surprise. They were meeting in a work session Aug. 7 to discuss wording for two questions on the November ballot. Their thoughts were focused on the sale or exchange of city property when Clay brought up marijuana. Objections were swift.

"I just asked the question I'm being asked, which is why not allow the sale of marijuana and marijuana products in the City of Delta?" he said following the meeting.

Clay said he's done his research and he disagrees with the fear tactics frequently used by the opposition. "I don't want to make decisions based on fear," he said. "I agree we need to be responsible about it, but I believe we should explore all sources of revenue. People claim to be very pro-private industry, but only the private industries they approve of.

"If it doesn't pass, it doesn't pass, but the city needs some income.

"The bottom line is, the five people in that room shouldn't be deciding on anything. It should go to a vote."

Council will meet Tuesday, Aug. 24, to review wording and vote on all the ballot measures to be put to the voters in November. The city is seeking approval to sell the ML&P plant on South Main Street which is no longer operational, and to swap the Riverbend and Cottonwood parks for land on the south side of the Gunnison River with better accessibility and visibility.