Stanton City Council members voted unanimously earlier this week to move toward legalizing marijuana businesses in the city.

The council members set up a committee to draft the rules and regulations for marijuana-related businesses in Stanton with a unanimous vote Tuesday, May 14. But the decision on allowing marijuana businesses in the city will ultimately be decided by voters in either a special election as early as this November or as late as November 2020.

“I think it’s a good direction to start looking. I think if we don’t, we would be under the control and influence of not only other people, but other agencies, other governments. We would not have that local control, and that would be a disservice to the community,” said Mayor David Shawver.

“We’ve experienced the best of everything. Human trafficking, massage parlors and illegal marijuana dispensaries. We’ve had a taste of…us not having any control over anything, which really was very negative in our community. We’re just now getting out of it.”

The committee includes councilmembers Hong Alyce Van and Rigoberto Ramirez, City Attorney Mal Richardson, City Manager Jarad Hildenbrand, a representative from the community to be named later and someone from the city’s economic development office.  HDL, a cannabis-consulting group service, is offering guidance for the city.

Committee members will draft a recommendation on when the measure should be placed before voters. Holding a special election for the issue this fall is estimated to cost $125,000 while placing it on the November 2020 general election ballot would save an undetermined amount of money.

In 2016, 52% of Stanton voters supported the marijuana legalization Proposition 64, with 48% opposed.

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