Delta Voters to Decide Marijuana Issue Next Election

For the second consecutive meeting, the Delta Village Council held their regularly scheduled session in front of a large and emotionally charged audience mainly composed of residents anxious to hear what the next step Council members would take regarding Ordinance 21-14; an ordinance allowing for the issuance of permits, licenses and approval for marijuana cultivation, processing and/or sale of similar businesses within the Village of Delta and declaring an emergency.

At the October 18th meeting, Council members did not approve of suspending the Rules of Council to allow the ordinance to go into effect on an emergency basis but did approve its First Reading by a vote of 4-1.  Prior to any discussion on the ordinance, Mayor Frank Wilton informed the public that, “in an effort to conduct this meeting in an orderly fashion”, other non-marijuana Village business would be conducted first and the members of the audience would be allowed to address the Council and other Village officials.  He also said that after discussions with Village Administrator Brad Peebles and Village Solicitor Kevin Heban, he believed the “decision on this controversial issue be left in the hands of the Delta voters.”

Once the other business was finished, seven individuals spoke before Council, all in opposition of bringing any type of marijuana-related business to Delta.  Collectively, they questioned why the growing, processing and selling of marijuana was grouped into one piece of legislation for the voters to decide instead of being voted on separately.  They wanted to make sure the social and health impact and the accessibility to the area’s youth versus the economic impact was being fully considered as well as noise and light pollution.  Much of what was spoken was addressed the meeting before.  No one spoke in favor of Ordinance 21-14.

In a letter from Mr. Peebles to Mayor Wilton and Council members, specifically regarding the marijuana issue, he stated: “Having recognized the immense pressure placed on members of the Village Council relative to the ban/approval of permits and licensing for cannabis cultivation, product manufacturing and dispensaries, this proposal outlines a measure allowing the voting public of Delta to render the ultimate decision.  The attached proposal (Ballot Language) outlines an initiative that could be placed on the general election ballot in May 2022.  With the review and direction of Delta Village Council, the process completing legislation for placing an initiative on the ballot must be completed and filed with the Fulton County Board of Elections before February 3, 2022.”

Following public comments, the Council voted to table the Second Reading of Ordinance 21-14.  They passed Ordinance 21-18, prohibiting the cultivation, processing and/or wholesaling, retailing and dispensing of medical marijuana in the Village of Delta until May 31, 2022 which will be after the election.  Council also voted to direct the preparation of legislation and ballot language be prepared for the December 6, 2021 meeting.

Pictured:  Delta resident addressed Council on medical marijuana

Photo Link:  Photos from the 11/1/21 meeting

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