WILLITS, CA. 5/24/17 — A special community informational meeting will take place on Thursday, May 25 at 5:30 pm at Willits City Hall, focused on collecting public feedback on a draft medical cannabis business ordinance for the City of Willits.
The meeting will provide an informational overview of the ordinance, and provide a chance for community members to review the ordinance and submit their comments to City Planner Dusty Duley and the city's Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee, which consists of Council members Madge Strong and Mayor Gerry Gonzalez. You can find a full draft of the proposed ordinance here. A final draft of the ordinance will then go before city council members for approval at a later, unspecified date.
The Willits City Council began discussing potential revisions to the city's ban on cannabis businesses during 2016, but the efforts were re-started after three new council members were elected in November. The current Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee, which drafted the proposed medical cannabis ordinance, consists of Strong and Mayor Gonzalez, the city's former Police Chief who was recently elected to mayor. The city currently does not allow outdoor cannabis cultivation or any other medical commercial cannabis businesses within city limits.
The city's press release concerning the meeting states "The primary goal of the Committee is to work with staff to establish a comprehensive set of medical cannabis policies consistent with new State laws that preserve our environmental resources, protect the health and safety of our communities, and ensure that the industry contributes positively to the economic vitality of our City."
At previous meetings concerning potential changes to the city's cannabis business ban, a variety of local residents attended requesting the city allow licensing of medical cannabis businesses, including several who have purchased properties and secured investments in the hopes of operating a legal commercial cannabis business in Willits. These include a proposed indoor cultivation site at the property formerly used as Caltrans' bypass construction HQ, and several other properties around town that owners hope to convert to distribution centers, processing locations, or testing labs that owners say could bring tax revenue, jobs, and tourism to town. Other residents have expressed concerns that such businesses could impact the town's character or potentially cause unwelcome odors or danger to local youth. Willits' already established reputation as a part of the "Emerald Triangle" has been referenced by residents both for and against changes to the current cannabis policy.
You can also read the full version of the draft ordinance at the Willits City Library. The community meeting will be held from 5:30 - 7:30pm at 111 East Commercial Street in Willits on May 25, 2017.
You can read The Mendocino Voice's previous coverage of the Willits' cannabis ordinance debate before the November, 2016 election here, here, here and after the election here, and here. You can also check out our evolving cannabis compliance resource here. The full press release concerning the informational meeting is included below. Questions and comments can also be submitted to Dusty Duley, City Planner, at [email protected]
Meeting will provide a summary of the City Medical Cannabis Ordinance public draft and the opportunity for community feedback
The City of Willits will be holding an informational community meeting on Thursday, May 25, 2017, to provide an overview of the Medical Cannabis Ordinance public draft that will be considered by the Willits City Council at a future Council meeting, date to be determined. The community meeting will be held from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Willits City Hall, located at 111 East Commercial Street in Willits.
The City Council created the Cannabis Ad-Hoc Committee with Mayor Gerry Gonzalez and Councilmember Madge Strong appointed to serve on the Committee. The primary goal of the Committee is to work with staff to establish a comprehensive set of medical cannabis policies consistent with new State laws that preserve our environmental resources, protect the health and safety of our communities, and ensure that the industry contributes positively to the economic vitality of our City. The Committee has worked diligently to produce the first public draft of the Medical Cannabis Ordinance and is looking forward to receiving community feedback.
The community meeting will consist of a brief presentation on the City’s Medical Cannabis Ordinance public draft, which will cover requirements related to location, operation, and permitting. Following the presentation, attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and get clarification on the draft Ordinance.
All community members are encouraged to provide comments and suggestions on the recommended policies for the City Council to take under consideration. The public draft of the City’s Medical Cannabis Ordinance can be found on the City website at http://www.cityofwillits.org/. A copy of the draft Ordinance can also be found at the Willits Library located at 390 East Commercial Street in Willits. Questions and comments can be emailed to City Planner Dusty Duley [email protected]
Kate B. Maxwell, [email protected]