Cannabis Plant. (Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)Despite nearly an hour of strong public comment in opposition, the Ketchikan City Council voted Thursday to move forward with a temporary ban on retail marijuana within city limits.The vote was split, though. Three members voted for the ban – Dick Coose, Janalee Gage and Bob Sivertsen – and three voted no – Judy Zenge, KJ Harris and Dave Kiffer.Mayor Lew Williams III broke the tie in favor of moving forward with the ordinance, which will require a second vote before it can be implemented.Council Member Julie Isom, who was absent on Thursday, voted on Dec. 3 in favor of a ban on retail marijuana, but then led the charge to reconsider that vote during a Dec. 14 meeting. Her vote at the next Council meeting could decide whether the temporary ban succeeds.If approved in second reading, the ordinance would prohibit the operation of any commercial marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, testing or retail operation within city limits until Sept. 30th. However, Mayor Williams said several times Thursday that the Council would make a decision in March.During public comment, 10 people spoke about marijuana, and eight of them were in favor of allowing retail sales. Robert Hannah says the City Council members who oppose retail marijuana are basing their decisions on feelings, rather that facts, and do not respect the will of the voters.“The last time I checked, in the United States, the majority did rule,” he said. “It’s not: ‘The majority’s opinion will be considered nicely by the governing body,’ and it’s definitely not: ‘The majority’s opinion will be weighed against the personal morals of the small council.’”The 2014 initiative legalizing marijuana in the state was approved by a majority of voters statewide and locally. That initiative does allow local governments to ban retail operations.A couple of speakers at Thursday’s meeting suggested that if the Council persists in banning commercial pot in the city, they would pursue a recall of those Council members. Another option for voters is to use the citizen initiative process to put the issue of retail marijuana on the local ballot.During Council discussion, Council Member Bob Sivertsen noted that counties in Colorado also were able to opt out of local retail sales, and 70 percent chose to do so.“Of course, the difference there is you can drive to a place to get marijuana and we’re somewhat different,” he said. “The other thing is that Colorado has medical marijuana, which I think our state fell down on in regards to regulations. I think there is a need to have some sort of medical marijuana system in place.”Council Member KJ Harris, who has supported legal marijuana from the start, berated the Council for further delaying a decision.“I could have my timing wrong, but I believe we’ve been working on this since about Feb. 25th of last year,” he said. “Pardon my French, but we ain’t done a damn thing. Now we’re going to back this off another 30-60 days, whatever that is, and not do a damn thing. And when the state comes up with laws, maybe we’ll do something, maybe we won’t. I’m pretty ashamed being on this Council the way this has come down.”The argument for the ordinance is that it gives the Council more time to decide whether to allow commercial marijuana within city limits. The Council on Dec. 14 voted to delay such a decision until March, but the state will start accepting business license applications in late February. The city attorney was concerned that small window of time might leave the city open to something it doesn’t want.The temporary pot ban will come back for a second vote during the Council’s Jan. 21 meeting.
PCSO to focus on improving transparency of gaming activities PLAY LIST 03:26PCSO to focus on improving transparency of gaming activities01:39Sotto open to discuss, listen to pros and cons of divorce bill06:02Senate to probe Tolentino’s ‘novel legal theories’ on oral agreements01:50Palace open to make Dengvaxia usable again as dengue cases spike01:49House seeks probe on ‘massive corruption’ in PCSO01:37PCSO estimates P250M in Lotto revenue loss due to suspension The executive secretary of Talisay City Mayor Johnny V. De los Reyes may face legal action after he was accused by a family of using a photo of their mother’s wake to promote the city’s burial assistance program.Will Velarde, a resident of sitio Purok Sequa, barangay Poblacion in Talisay City, said they were surprised when they saw a photo of his mother’s wake in Talisay City’s Hall official publication.ADVERTISEMENT He said the mayor and his group visited their place to set up a new water pump.MORE STORIESnewsinfoQuake disturbs Itbayat, Batanes anewnewsinfo‘Aquaman’ Jason Momoa visits protesters blocking new Hawaii telescopenewsinfoCourt: Non-native Guam residents can vote on status with USMORE STORIESnewsinfoQuake disturbs Itbayat, Batanes anewnewsinfo‘Aquaman’ Jason Momoa visits protesters blocking new Hawaii telescopenewsinfoCourt: Non-native Guam residents can vote on status with USVelarde said it was a coincidence that delos Reyes visited the wake and his staff took photos.He said his niece went to the mayor’s office to see Paypa but was told by delos Reyes that Paypa attended a seminar.ClarificationVelarde said he and his family only wanted a clarification on the erroneous use of the photo in the story.ADVERTISEMENT View comments “(I and my family are 100 percent sure that the picture used showed my mother’s wake in our house),” Velarde said.He said he will meet his friend and a lawyer to discuss this before meeting with the mayor.Velarde said he and his family were hurt because their mother was used to promote the mayor’s burial assistance program when they have not receive any assistance at all.He said his sister, who works as a nurse in another country, saw the photo on Facebook and asked him where the money she sent to pay for burial costs went.“The publication of that photo hurt my family because our deceased mother was used,” Velarde said.Cebu Daily News visited Paypa’s office but was told that he was in a meeting.Mayor delos Reyes said the photo was taken in barangay Lagtang, Talisay City.He said he was invited by the Bacus family during a program in which he was one of the speakers. SMC bags Bulacan airport project An adobo upgrade: Add rosemary The story beside the photo stated that Talisay City Hall offers burial assistance to indigents.Velarde said his family only received P200 from Mayor delos Reyes when he visited the wake.FEATURED STORIESNEWSINFOSenate to probe Tolentino’s ‘novel legal theories’ on oral agreementsNEWSINFOLocsin wants to drop ‘visas upon arrival’ privilegeNEWSINFOPalace open to make Dengvaxia usable again as dengue cases spikeThe photo was supposedly taken by the mayor’s staff and used by the mayor’s executive secretary Solomon Paypa for the Talisay City Hall publication.Aside from the P200, Velarde said the family didn’t receive a single centavo of burial assistance. PM Boris Johnson visits Belfast as Brexit woes hurt UK economy Read Next Sen. Pia Cayetano: Judge our clan based on performance What’s new in town: Eggplant parmigiana deep-dish pizza, tofu ‘kakigori,’ ‘kamias’-date sticky toffee pudding Tolentino: No more debate with Drilon on China deal Senate to probe Tolentino’s ‘novel legal theories’ on oral agreements MOST READ LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Pagasa: Rain expected as LPA enters PAR