A showdown is set to begin for the Havre City Council tomorrow night at their regular meeting. The Council is scheduled to vote on a 90 day zoning moratorium and begin work on a new zoning ordinance for the City of Havre. This discussion is coming on the heels of the last several meetings of the City Planning and Development committee where Mayor Tim Solomon tasked the committee with researching and determining what to do about medical marijuana in Havre.
This issue has been hashed over in the Havre Daily News, at the local coffee shop, in our churches and schools and of course on this blog since the first meeting of the committee. We at the Corrector have taken some heat for our decision to post the photos of one grow location as well as a post of a witnessed buy taking place. Both posts generated significant comments about the pros and cons of our decision. Please note that this was a conscious decision we made and we stand by our right to post them and their validity, right or wrong in the minds of our readers. What is more to the point though is the comments echo those on the street and that most people are concerned about the welfare of our community. Citizens of this fair city should know that we are not alone in this.
Indeed many communities including Great Falls, Helena, Bozeman, Missoula, Kalispell and smaller communities of Three Forks, Livingston, Whitefish, Hamilton and Deer Lodge are wading through the sea of restrictions and rules associated with regulation of medical marijuana as well. In Havre several loosely organized citizen groups have surfaced on this issue too, the caregivers and their patients and a group of concerned citizens who have been attending virtually every public meeting of the Council to voice its concerns over this seemingly exploding issue. What to do, what to do?
The Corrector was able to catch up with a couple members of the Council and the consensus from them was that the moratorium will more than likely pass, but what permanent rules might come of this conversation is not as clear. It seems as though Councilman Bob Kaul's suggestion that the City of Havre work with Hill County to simply "ban it" has caused a few lines in the sand to be drawn. As one Councilman put it, there is probably 3-4 votes to ban it, although those are not certain and there are probably as many as 4-5 who would be willing to place significant restrictions in place to protect the health and welfare of Havre. That means 3-4 members must be unwilling to restrict medical marijuana, right? The member would not go that far, but did suggest that several members do not seem as concerned about the issue as others saying that we weren't worrying about this 6 months ago and it was here, why should we be concerned now.
The Corrector believes this is an oversimplification of the issue and as such does require the Council to do something, nothing is not an option. We look forward to the deliberations but we do ask the Council to withhold emotion and do what is best for all of Havre. These issues are far too important and will have longstanding consequences for years to come.