Thanks to everyone who wrote letters to the City Council and showed up for the public hearings. In case you had not yet heard, the good news is that the Council voted to cap the licenses at 20.
The not-so-good news is that the School Board's Resolutions and Planning Commission's recommendations to keep the buffer zones at 600 feet lost by a 3-1 vote of the City Council. Scroll all the way down for the full story, but first check out this press release on what's next.
This is not the end of the story...... Press Release: Mount Shasta Citizens Launch Referendum to Keep Cannabis Away From Kids FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Tom Scovill April 23, 2019 email@example.com 530-918-8163 Mount Shasta Citizens Launch Referendum to Keep Cannabis Away From Kids [Mt. Shasta, CA]
A coalition of several hundred citizens of Mount Shasta, including educators, law enforcement, first responders, parents, teachers, medical professionals and taxpayers announced today that they have begun a referendum campaign to overturn a decision by the Mount Shasta City Council to reduce the protective buffer zone between marijuana businesses and sensitive areas where children and youth congregate from 600 feet to 450 feet.
The protective buffer zone applies to schools, day care operations and youth centers. The Keep Cannabis Away From Kids coalition has 30 days to collect the signatures of 10% of Mount Shasta city voters, something that will suspend the ordinance from taking effect. "We are very disappointed that the City Council has ignored so much public opposition to their ordinance to reduce the buffer zone to protect children in schools, day care centers and youth centers from 600 feet to just 450 feet," said Tom Scovill, Chairman of the Keep Cannabis Away From Kids coalition.
"Voters were promised in Prop 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, a 600-foot protective buffer between marijuana businesses and sensitive areas where children are present such as day care centers, schools and youth centers.
Many cities in California are going beyond a 600 foot buffer to require a 1,000 foot buffer. It is virtually unheard of for any city to enact just a 450 foot buffer." The Mount Shasta City Council took the final step to pass the cannabis ordinance at its meeting on April 22nd. As has been the case throughout the city's consideration of the proposal, large numbers of people opposing the ordinance attended the Council meeting to express their opposition to the idea.
The reduction in the protective buffer zone is opposed by the Mount Shasta Planning Commission, Mount Shasta Union School District, Siskiyou Union High School District, Sheriff Jon Lopey and a wide and diverse array or citizens. Scovill, the Chair of the referendum effort, is a retired educator who spent 32 years as a teacher and administrator with the Siskiyou and Shasta County Offices of Education, living in the Mount Shasta area since 1975.
When sufficient signatures are submitted to qualify the referendum, the ordinance reducing the protective buffer zone will be suspended. State law requires the City Council to then either repeal the ordinance or place it on the next general election ballot, or call a special election for voters to decide the issue. "Our opposition to this ordinance is not about opposing cannabis per se, but about reducing the protective buffer zone protecting children that citizens were promised would by maintained by licensing authorities such as the city of Mount Shasta.
We want to keep cannabis away from kids," Scovill said. "It is concerning that in a fairly short period of time the city has gone from a 1,000 foot buffer, to a 600 foot buffer and now to a 450 foot buffer, and that city staff has proposed a 300 foot buffer. We need to draw a line at 600 feet so that children and youth have a safe space to learn and play." Citizens wishing to participate in the referendum effort are urged to contact Tom Scovill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-918-8163.
Monday’s City Council Meeting on Cannabis - April 22, 2019 Monday April 22nd, the Mt Shasta City Council voted to overrule the Planning Commission decision to maintain the current 600 foot buffer zones around daycare centers, schools and youth centers to accommodate the proposed cannabis warehouse requested by one business, in spite of hundreds of letters from community members, many of who also spoke to the Council asking them to protect the 600 foot buffer zone.
Mayor Wagner and two City Councilmembers were interested in supporting the Cannabis business which needs room to expand near the Day Care Center, Women, Infants and Children Center, the K-12 School that was there for 22 years after they bought it from Evergreen Montessori School.
People who spoke understood that this is not about the decriminalization of cannabis or CBD oil, etc.
Most folks understood that parents were concerned about the delivery trucks going in and out near the day care center, schools etc. The video will be available on the city website soon.
Below is the post from Next Door. It shows a few highlights, but many people spoke, most in favor of maintaining the 600-foot buffer zone that the Public School boards wanted. In the end all the schools lost.
Speakers on the cannabis side pushed the business while someone from the Shady Creek Day Care Center pleaded on behalf of the parents and pre-schoolers. At the last meeting, Shady Creek Director said that unlimited distribution trucks would be a problem for small children. • Dee, Soul Connections owner spoke about her concerns and how she was told by a former councilmember that there were too many crystal stores in town. We would all miss those crystal stores if they were gone and so would our visitors. (Our crystal stores don't have foul odors and thief-target delivery trucks with marijuana inventory coming and going in and out of youth centers).
A Public School Board member from Sisson Elementary School reaffirmed their Resolution as well as the one from Mount Shasta High School in favor of 600 feet. William Guthrie a 4th-year medical student said that he grew up in Mount Shasta, but is not sure that he wants to return to Mount Shasta after he graduates because he does not want to live in a town that is more about cannabis than drawing young professionals.
Dr. Guthrie and his wife Patti Guthrie, a community health Educator spoke about how the town seems to be changing to the point where young college students don't want to return because of the domination of the cannabis industry.
Dr. Richard Shearer, M.D. a Functional Medicine Doctor choked up while he spoke about how he and his son who is a young Functional Dentist will move away from Mount Shasta, with their families because Mount Shasta is now all about cannabis.
Many people spoke about how well the tourist industry is doing and advocating for that to continue - making Mount Shasta about tourism instead of cannabis.
Many others spoke on behalf of children because it was the children's buffer zones around daycare centers and schools that were the concern of most. Many mentioned the existing state law of 600 feet which was the promise of Prop 64 when they voted for it.
1. A young man who said that while he is a cannabis user, he felt that Mount Shasta has enough cannabis already and the kids had a right to their 600-foot buffer zone. Other cannabis users asked the City Council to protect the buffer zone.
2. Tom Scovill spoke about an emergency room nurse at the hospital who described to a mutual friend last night how she is seeing far more youth (under 21) coming in from cannabis-related medical emergencies. She said that when they check that cannabis box, they say that they use cannabis daily now.
3. In spite of all the testimony and letters, in the end, Mayor Wagner sang the praises of the cannabis industry (as "we" the cannabis companies) and voted to reduce the buffer zone around daycare centers, schools, and youth centers.
We hope we don't lose our high-quality medical doctors and that young students who are attending universities will feel like this will be a town they can return to and raise their families. City Councilmember John Stackfleth was the only elected leader who listened to the people.
The Mount Shasta community is grateful to him and to all citizens who came out to speak for youth before cannabis.
Please ask Dr. Richard Shearer and his Dentist son Dr. Keven Shearer to stay in Mount Shasta! Our town would not be the same without them and others like them- too many are now thinking of leaving Mount Shasta because they don't want to practice their professions and try to run businesses and raise families in a pot- dominated town.
Maybe the citizens of Mount Shasta can turn this around and make the town one those great Physicians, Dentists, Businesses, and lots of young families want to stay here. If you have any ideas on how to do that, please write to us at: email@example.com.
In case you were not able to attend the February Cannabis Education Event, you can watch all the videos at this website: www.mountshastacommunity.org