The council also unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Siskiyou County Economic Development Council.

Mount Shasta City Council made the final step to reducing the buffer between some cannabis businesses and schools, daycares and youth centers at their meeting Monday evening.

The council also unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Siskiyou County Economic Development Council.

While council discussed the SEDC, Discover Siskiyou, and the ways in which the organization provides economic development support services, the elephant in the room was the impending discussion regarding the cannabis buffer zone, which was removed from the consent agenda so more discussion could take place.

Members of the community on both sides of the issue spoke at the podium regarding cannabis, zoning, proximity to schools, effects on children and medical implications and benefits.

City Manager Bruce Pope was asked if the issue could be placed on the ballot.

He stated that if the ordinance was passed, there are 30 days before it would take effect, and in that 30 days, one could file a referendum which could result in the city being forced to choose repealing the ordinance or putting it to vote.

After hearing these statements, some in the audience commented on what they called a bias within the city council.

“We all come in with a bias,” Mayor Barbara Wagner said, adding that everyone looks at different parts of the elephant, but doesn’t necessarily look at the entire animal.

Councilman John Redmond was blunt. “My bias is that I’m pro-business ... I do not see an issue with this ... people didn’t seem to care when alcohol was in that building,” he said.

Mount Shasta Police Chief Parish Cross provided statistics that dealt with 911 calls, complaints, violations and infractions related to marijuana use within the city. The findings were then compared with those same calls and complaints when alcohol was involved.

As of January 2018, plus the four months into the year so far, there were roughly 30 marijuana related issues dealt with by the Mount Shasta Police Department. These issues included school possessions, instances of smoking in public, scent/odor complaints, DUIs, and “marijuana” keyword mentions when dispatchers initially take a call, said Cross.

There were roughly 328 calls involving alcohol related incidents, Cross said, including DUIs, bar visits, disturbing the peace, welfare checks, domestic disturbances, suspicious persons and more.

When questioned about smoking in public for both marijuana and cigarettes, Cross stated that “there’s just not enough resources” when it comes to writing individual citations, whether they be in front of businesses or elsewhere.

In the end, there was a vote for approval, which will enact the amended ordinance within 30 days. It was approved 3-1, with Mayor Pro Tem John Stackfleth casting the no vote. Wagner and councilors Jeffrey Collings and Redmond voted yes. Councilor Paul Engstrom recused himself from the decision.

SEDC

In other business, the Siskiyou County Economic Development Council presented a request for an MOU extension, which expires in June of this year. Council discussed changing the alloted funding from $25,000 to $30,000, which was established as a base allotment, and could be built on through grants and building.

Representatives of the SEDC, as well as those from Discover Siskiyou spoke about the work that has recently been accomplished, including helping existing businesses and looking in to alternative eco-friendly options for waste and composting.

After hearing public comments, questions, and the presentations regarding the MOU, council approved it, although Engstrom was hesitant. He decided to take a leap of faith and voted yes, along with the four other members of the council.

“I think it is a worthy investment for you guys to continue to help us out,” said Stackfleth.