An ordinance that would’ve placed retail marijuana on the ballot in April’s election died at the hands of a tie vote by Craig City Council Tuesday night.
All six current council members were seated for the vote, with John Ponikvar, Derek Duran and Jarrod Ogden voting in favor of putting the measure on the ballot and Mayor Pro Tem Kent Nielson, Tony Bohrer and Joe Bird voting against.
Council opted not to vote on the retail marijuana-related tax measures after voting down the primary measure that would have permitted retail marijuana.
Three members of the public spoke in favor of putting the measure before voters.
“The retail cannabis measures on the ballot aren’t just about cannabis, they’re about economic development. Just last month this community lost 30 jobs when Kmart closed,” said Craig resident and veteran Michael Lausin. “By not wanting retail cannabis measures on the ballot, that says to me that you’re not willing to help bring jobs to Craig.”
Members of the Committee to Grow Craig, Paul James and Shaun Hadley, refuted arguments previously presented by council members who opposed the measure. James promised they would petition again to add their own version to the ballot in November if council didn’t put it on the April ballot.
“This is the first time through. If we have to petition for this again, I know that we’re going to succeed,” James said, adding, “If the council is so sure that this is going to fail on the ballot, then what is the harm of putting it on and letting it fail once and for all?”
No audience members spoke out against the ordinances, with the exception of Hadley asking that the proposed sales tax not be applied to medical marijuana, as was written in one of the ordinances.
A brief discussion ensued between council members, with Ponikvar and Ogden reiterating their support, and Nielson reiterating his opposition.
“I have definitely gotten more comments from people that didn’t want this on the ballot,” Nielson added.