PENDLETON, Ind. — In a historic move, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would legalize marijuana on the federal level by removing it from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act.
But in Pendleton, town officials say they hope to stop sales before they even start.
On November 14, the Pendleton town council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would ban the production and sale of recreational marijuana. A preemptive strike that would make it the first Indiana town to adopt such an ordinance, in a state that is far from legalizing marijuana on the state level.
“We’re really trying to be proactive in sending a message to the legislators that if this happens, we want local control on where and how,” council president Jessica Smith said.
Smith says if marijuana is legalized at the state or federal level, the ordinance wouldn’t prevent residents from using or possessing recreational marijuana, but would prevent sales within town limits. A move she says is designed to protect children and underaged community members from being exposed to and given access to marijuana.
“If they legalize it and you’re of age and a responsible adult, then that’s fine. But I don’t want to see our quaint little town have shops selling this on every street corner,” she said.
Other council members like Shane Davis say their decision on the ordinance is far from made.
“There’s a lot of stuff we need to look into,” Davis said.
Davis says he approved the first reading of the ordinance but wants to look at more information before making a decision. He wants to be clear on where community members stand before he votes.
“We are there for our town, let’s get the input, let’s get the info to our townspeople, let them read it, let them understand it, let them ask the questions, then we can make a decision.”
Smith says the council is wanting to hear from town residents and is planning a public forum in early December. A second reading of the ordinance is planned for mid-December.