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Homer Council Says 'No' to Special Election on Pot

Image Courtesy of the City of Homer
City of Homer

Homer City Council voted down an ordinance that proposed holding a special election on whether to ban commercial cannabis in the city at their regular meeting Monday evening.

About a dozen people testified, mostly against the ordinance, saying that the voters of Homer had already spoken when they cast their ballots on the statewide initiative. Lindianne Sarno said it was the Council’s responsibility to opt out and that they shouldn’t make voters cast their ballots a second time.

“And come to your expensive little private election just so you can avoid the political heat for a decision which you must make. Pardon me but that is cowardly. It’s also unconstitutional,” said Sarno.

Mayor Beth Wythe, who introduced the ordinance, said she was searching for a solution.

“When that came to me, I went, ‘how do I provide this community with the right to make that decision on their own?’ And this was the solution that I came up with. I found this to be a better solution than just taking away your option at all. And that apparently was not an acceptable solution, but that was the one that I came up with,” said Wythe.

The ordinance would have put the issue before Homer voters in a special election on April 19th. But it failed in 4 to 1 vote.

Council member Van Dyke was the only yes vote. Council member Heath Smith, who also supported the ordinance, didn’t vote as his phone line failed.

Although the ordinance was voted down, the Mayor said a group has already submitted an application to the City Clerk for a petition to put the issue before voters at a later date.

“So it will be coming to a vote of the community. It will be a much more delayed process than what it is right now. But it will come before the voters,” said Wythe.

A marijuana zoning ordinance was also up for reconsideration. All five council members unanimously approved it with amendments removing references to an April election that will now not take place.

The ordinance will not allow commercial cannabis cultivation in rural residential areas. However, it will allow it in the Central Business District, East End Mixed Use Area and in some General Commercial areas (1 and 2).

The next meeting of the Homer City council is scheduled for Tuesday, March 29th.

Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage.