Marijuana ticket ordinance dead


Mayor says even revised law lacks strong support

GALESBURG —

The City Council will not revisit the marijuana ticketing issue, after subsequent votes and internal discussion indicated there wouldn’t be enough support for even a revised ordinance.

A measure to allow police the ability to issue tickets for possession of 2.5 grams or less of marijuana was approved by the council in early August, but vetoed days later by Mayor Sal Garza, who said he wasn’t against the intent of the ordinance but that it lacked an educational component for minors. An effort to override the veto by the council was unsuccessful, as it did not gain the super majority of five votes needed for an override.

Both Alderman Jeremy Karlin, Ward 7, and Garza confirmed that the ordinance would not be re-addressed to reflect Garza’s concerns. When he announced his veto decision Aug. 10, Garza told The Register-Mail that he hoped a stronger consensus from the community and the council could be formed around a strengthened ordinance. He said, after talks with some council members, that no larger consensus could be formed.

“Why would I bring it back if only to do the same thing?” Garza said. “It defies logic.”

Karlin, however, contests that they mayor was never interested in drafting a new ordinance with his concerns addressed.

“He had no intention of strengthening the ordinance. He wanted to kill it,” Karlin said.

Karlin acknowledged that he could draft a revised ordinance himself, but said such efforts would be in vain because neither Garza nor any of the three council members who opposed the measure indicated they would rethink their stance.

Aldermen Ken Goad, Ward 1; Wayne Dennis, Ward 2; and Wayne Allen, Ward 6, opposed the ticketing measure when it originally passed the council. They also opposed the measure during the override vote.

“We’ve spent a lot of time on a relatively low impact item,” Karlin said.

Garza said he based his decision not to redraft the ticketing ordinance after the override vote failed to garner any more support for the measure. He added that he has since talked to some council members and asked if they would consider supporting a revised measure. They indicated to Garza that they would not.

The issue was anecdotally mentioned during the Lake Storey Pavilion alcohol ordinance discussions at Monday’s City Council meeting, when Garza suggested the council table one portion of the ordinance and readdress it at a later date.

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