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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Passionate Chico residents and city council members discuss cannabis and climate change

Chico City counsel that includes Mayor Randall Stone and Vice Mayor Alex Brown deliberating over the climate declaration Photo credit: Gordy Papalias

The city of Chico held a council meeting at the Municipal Building downtown on Tuesday, where they discussed who would be on the commercial cannabis citizen advisory committee, and whether or not the council should declare a climate action emergency for Chico.

The cannabis committee would be tasked with coming up with a solution on whether or not Chico should allow legal cannabis to be sold or grown in city limits. Many applicants attended the council meeting and were given the opportunity to discuss why they should be allowed to serve the committee.

One of the committee applicants was Roger Hart, who has lived and worked in Chico for 24 years. He is a small business owner and says that he would be all in on allowing the sale of cannabis in Chico.

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Gary Hart telling the council his opinion on legal cannabis in Chico and why he should be on the cannabis committee Photo credit: Gordy Papalias

“I believe that commercial cannabis sales is inevitable in Chico.” Hart said. “Let’s do it right the first time … Let’s make Chico a model for other cities to look to.”

Many committee applicants agreed with Hart, some disagreed and others brought unique opinions on the matter. Chico resident and small business owner Alexandra Cruz voiced her opinion, saying that Chico should hand this issue off to Concow County and let them grow cannabis there instead of bringing it in from other areas.

“We need to look at the fact that the farmers in this county lost everything.” Cruz said. “We are not taking this and giving it to the city of Chico where we don’t have locally sourced cannabis. We need locally sourced cannabis”

The city council will have only member on the cannabis committee, and they will continue to sort through the applicants to appoint the rest of the members.

A climate action emergency declaration, which would start an effort to restore a safe climate in Chico, was the other main topic discussed on Tuesday. More than 30 Chico residents stood at the podium and adamantly discussed their position on the subject with the city council.

Most speakers, like Steven Marquardt of the Chico 350 Counsel that raises awareness about climate change in Butte County, were in favor of the climate emergency declaration.

Of the more than 30 speakers, fewer than 10 were against the declaration, including Chico resident Murray Lind who thinks that the council should be focused on more pressing issues. Lind had a large presence in the room and his booming voice rose above the large amounts of hail echoing off the roof of the Municipal Building

“I honestly don’t know how you guys take yourself seriously up here with regards to climate change and pot when we have such a public safety emergency in our town.” Lind said. “There’s armed robberies, there’s girls getting shot and wounded, people breaking into my house. I want more police in my town and I want to feel safe.”

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Chico Resident Murray Lind telling the council that they should be discussing public safety instead of cannabis and climate change Photo credit: Gordy Papalias

After residents spoke, the council deliberated and voted five to one to enact the climate action emergency declaration which will allow regional collaboration and initiate an emergency mobilization effort to restore a safe climate according to the city council agenda.

Gordon Papalias can be reached at [email protected] or @GordonPapalias on Twitter.

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