City Council keeps ‘options open’ on fall marijuana vote

Grand Junction City Council members unanimously approved a resolution Monday that will hold a place on the Nov. 2 ballot for a potential medical marijuana question.

Council members decided at a noon workshop Monday to add the resolution to the agenda of the City Council meeting that evening.

“I think it would be the safe thing to do. I think it would be the right thing to do,” Councilman Sam Susuras said.

“It’s important to keep our options open,” added Councilman Tom Kenyon.

The resolution was approved by all but council members Bruce Hill and Bill Pitts, who were absent from the meeting. It notifies Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Janice Rich that the city may place a question regarding medical marijuana on the November ballot. The city had to make this notification at least 100 days before the election, which made Monday the last scheduled council meeting available to make the decision before the deadline.

The Mesa County Board of Commissioners on Monday decided to reserve a place on the ballot for a possible question asking voters whether they want to ban medical marijuana centers in unincorporated areas of the county.

The commissioners heard three hours of testimony, and a handful of protesters held signs in front of the Old County Courthouse Monday morning.

Monday evening, in contrast, the City Hall auditorium and front steps were empty of medical marijuana proponents or opponents.

No public comments were taken at the council meeting, where the resolution was approved as part of the council’s consent agenda. The consent agenda is a roster of items read one after the other and approved as a list without public comment.

The city council is required to take public comment only on ordinances, City Attorney John Shaver said, but can take public input on other items such as resolutions.

County spokeswoman Jessica Peterson said the county commissioners approached her last week and told her they wanted to take public comment before adopting their resolution Monday. Peterson said it’s customary for commissioners to ask whether anyone wants to comment on any agenda item at their weekly meetings, regardless of where the item appears on the agenda or whether it involves an ordinance.

The city will take public comment at meetings Aug. 4 and Aug. 18. Councilman Gregg Palmer said at Monday’s city council workshop that “it’s critical” that the council hear from the community in the future.

City Council members have not committed to asking a question on the November ballot or even entertained whether a possible question would mention banning medical marijuana centers within city limits. Palmer said at the workshop the council should figure that out soon.


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