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Medical marijuana banned in Ronan

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RONAN — At a meeting on Monday, Ronan City Council members voted unanimously to follow the planning board’s recommendation prohibiting the sale, growth and distribution of medical marijuana within the city limits.

Previously, the Ronan City Council issued a temporary moratorium, restricting medical marijuana distributors and growers to a specific highway commercial zone on the south end of town. 

After a month, the council revisited the medical marijuana zoning issue and voted to prohibit medical marijuana distribution, sale or growth inside the city limits altogether. The council wanted to discuss the issue further, pending recommendations from the planning board and more information. 

The planning board’s decision came after receiving little feedback from community members during two public forums, and the decision from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council that prohibited any CSKT member from using medical marijuana. 

“I just think it’s a hassle that we don’t want to get involved in,” council member Marcia Ganieany said.  

Mayor Kim Aipperspach insisted that the city will be affected by the medical marijuana regardless of council’s decision. 

“I think you will be involved in that hassle either way,” he responded.

In other business, Public Works Department Director Kevin Templer presented a letter from the Department of Environmental Quality. The letter requested that the city fix a few discrepancies regarding the filtration of water.

Claiming that the DEQ sent the city a similar letter in 1990, Templer said he had a drafted a reply and would request the assistance of city attorney James Raymond in the final draft. 

“There is no reason why they should make us spend millions of dollars on a problem that we don’t have,” Aipperspach said. 

He also noted that the city of Ronan has some of the cleanest water in the state. 

It was then brought to the city’s attention by grant administrator Billie Lee that the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation is hesitating with their assistance with the Ronan Water Project because of the aforementioned discrepancies. Ronan has applied for a $100,000 grant from the DNRC. She also noted that the Treasure State Endowment Program has no problems regarding the letter. 

The city council tabled the discussion of city employee compensatory time. Mark Clary who works for the Public Works Department has accumulated 250 hours of compensatory time and requested a partial payout because he’s not able to take the time off. 

Ronan City Clerk Kaylene Melton requested that the council make a decision regarding compensatory time in this fiscal year, but the council did not want to be rushed in the decision-making process. 

“I don’t like having to make a decision now before we have all the facts right,” Ganieany said. 

The city council also authorized the execution of the plan and schedule, professional services contract, engineer contract and resolution for the Ronan Water Project. 

The next Ronan City Council Meeting will be held on July 12 at 6 p.m. at the Ronan City Hall.

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