City Council: Marijuana issue could go to special election

After much discussion motor fuel excise tax repealed in a 4-2 vote

A petition against the operation of marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, testing facilities and marijuana retail stores gained 251 signatures in just five days.

For this reason, the Cordova City Council has decided to wait until the petition is certified before making the decision on whether to take this issue to a special election.

Many of those attending the standing room only city council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 7, spoke against the use of recreational marijuana, expressing fear that it would have a negative impact on the community, particularly on Cordova’s youth.

“I really feel for these issues that other people are bringing up,” Melina Meyer said as she addressed the council. Meyer is seeking to establish a marijuana cultivation facility and separate retail marijuana business in town.

Meyer said she believes that misinformation is what is causing the negative perception of marijuana in Cordova, but she doesn’t discredit people’s experiences.

“I personally would never want to do anything that would hurt this community or hurt children or anybody for that matter,” she said.

“Then withdraw your application,” Rusty Higgins shouted from the crowd.

“No,” Penny Oswalt replied back to him, comforting Meyer who turned emotional as she returned to her seat.

Higgins spoke with passion, emphasizing that Cordova is a family-oriented town.

“Just because it was made into law doesn’t mean that it’s right,” he said. “Raising children here is hard enough. We need to do everything we can to protect our children here.”

The council also approved by a 4-2 vote Ordinance 1163, decreasing the cap on a single purchase transaction sale or service from $7,500 to $3,000.

“I don’t want to put the whole burden on the property tax payers,” Councilmember David Allison said. “That is putting the burden on 48 percent of the public and not spreading it out. These taxes spread that out amongst a broader range of people.”

Ordinance 1164, the repeal of chapter 5.39, “motor fuel excise tax”, was also heavily discussed by the council and those in attendance before the motion carried 4-2.

At the council’s Jan. 17 meeting Lot 3, Block 5 of North Fill Development Park was ruled non-available on the 2018 city land disposal maps.

Robert Brown, owner of Saddle Point Machine, explored other acreage for his business, but ultimately stood by his request for Lot 3, Block 5.

After discussion, the council made the lot available again and agreed to dispose of the lot through direct negotiation with Brown.

On the last agenda item, Councilmember Kenneth Jones moved to extend the substantial completion date of the performance deed of trust to May 1, 2019 for Lot 6, Block 2 South Fill Development Park.

The motion carried 6-0.



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Emily Mesner is a staff reporter and photographer for The Cordova Times. Reach her at Emily graduated from Central Michigan University, earning a degree in photojournalism with a cultural competency certificate. She first visited Alaska in 2016, working as a media intern for the National Park Service in Kotzebue and Denali National Park and Preserve, and has been coming back ever since. To see more photos, follow @thecordovatimes and @emilymesnerphoto on Instagram.