BLYTHE, Calif. - Three councilmen voted Tuesday night to let Blythe voters decide whether they want a medical marijuana dispensary in town. While vice mayor Tim Wade, and councilmen Joey DeConinck and Oscar Galvan each voted to have the decision placed on the ballot, Mayor Mike Evans and councilman Wayne Cusick each dissented.
"Let the people vote on the ordinance and the dispensary," said Galvan. "That way it can't be undone."
Galvan was referring to how the local government operates. If the council is to make an ordinance one year, another council is able to come in and change the ordinance the following year, similarly, this is what happened when the current council repealed the original marijuana dispensary ban last month. When legislation is passed (or denied) by voters, the only way to change it is to take it to a vote, which can be a lengthy and costly process.
Cusick spoke out before the vote to express the reason why the council needed to proceed with the plan of drawing up an ordinance and moving forward.
"You would have to be naïve to think that there is no marijuana in this town. There is no control right now and with dispensaries maybe we can make a dent in the criminal part," said Cusick. "And I like nothing more than to tick off these drug dealers."
Cusick also said he has compassion for the people who are medically in need of marijuana. He also said that the people of Blythe voted him in to make the hard decisions not just the easy ones.
"And that's why I am ready to move forward," said Cusick.
"Voters voted me in to make decisions but I feel the people need to vote," said DeConinck, who brought up the ballot option at the June 27 council meeting.
"Let's put it on the ballot and let the people decide."
According to City Manager Frank Luckino, before the medical marijuana dispensary issue can be placed on the ballot, the council will need to pass a resolution first, immediately followed by a statement on the ballot that will not confuse the voters. All paperwork has to be at the Riverside County of Registrar's Office no later than Aug. 9.
"It's all about making sure the statement clearly states what the vote is about," said Luckino.
The next regularly scheduled City of Blythe Council meeting is July 22 at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 235 N. Broadway.