Referendum success: City retains 600 foot cannabis buffer

Kelsey Shelton

As the result of a successful referendum process, the Mount Shasta City Council on Monday decided to maintain its original 600 foot buffer around cannabis businesses.

There were a mix of people at the June 10 meeting, some in support of the ordinance that reduced the buffer to 450 feet, and others who wanted the buffer to remain at 600 feet.

Speaking at the podium was Tom Scovill, chairman of the Keep Cannabis Away From Kids Coalition, which initiated the referendum process to overturn the ordinance which had been approved by the council on April 22. The coalition gathered more than 700 signatures, 581 of which were verified by the Siskiyou County Clerk – more than enough to force the council to make a decision: repeal the ordinance or put the issue to vote.

“We’ve evidenced that, if (the ordinance is) put on a ballot, it will be rejected,” Scovill told the council, urging them to simply repeal it instead. He went on to discuss how local school boards and Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey oppose the 450 foot buffer.

Reny Townsend, CEO of Jefferson Soul, proposed a compromise that would appease the wishes of the public.

Jefferson Soul currently runs a cultivation business on N. Mt. Shasta Boulevard and finds itself at the center of the city’s cannabis controversy. The business purchased an 8,400-square-foot commercial building at 1119 Ream Avenue to expand its operations. The building in question is 530 feet from the “I AM” School in an area zoned for industrial use, a shortfall of 70 feet.

During Monday’s meeting, Townsend said they were considering subdividing their building so Jefferson Soul would be situated closer to the train tracks and 600 feet away from the “I AM” School.

“Stoneway Crossfit is more than happy to occupy the other half of the building closer to the school,” Townsend stated.

Elizabeth Tabor, owner of Patients Collective in Mount Shasta and La Florista in Weed, said she supports the original 600 foot buffer since it is the state’s recommendation and most cannabis business owners have planned around it.

“Since this has come up, the adult behavior I have seen is disgusting,” Tabor said.

City councilor Jeffery Collings said Mount Shasta is a diverse town, and pointed out that there are many different views on issues like cannabis.

Mayor Barbara Wagner said it is the council’s job “to find a compromise and listen” when it comes to topics that affect the city as a whole.

Mayor Pro Tem John Stackfleth made a motion to repeal ordinance CCO-19-02 based on the referendum and the council’s wish to skip a costly special election. His motion was supported unanimously, 4-0, with councilor Paul Engstrom recusing himself.

Fire Safety

Mount Shasta Fire Department Chief Matt Melo presented some fire safety awareness tips to the council and the public.

The fire department has been working hand in hand with the Forest Service and California Highway Patrol to create a better notification system for the public in case of an evacuation, Melo said.

This topic has been a major concern since the Delta and the Hirz fires. Melo discussed how the departments use a “ready, set go” warning system, which mirrors Oregon’s 1-2-3 system. He discussed some community outreach the departments have been doing with largely populated areas, such as Alta Vista Manor and the Eskaton apartments in Mount Shasta. There are also evacuation plans set for large scale businesses and neighborhoods in case of a mass evacuation.

Wagner suggested, along with Melo, that citizens work on “cleaning up their own mess,” when it comes to keeping their property and homes safe.