By Deb Murphy

Depending on your point of view, Mammoth Town Council is either in the throes of analysis paralysis or moving in a deliberative way toward the town’s cannabis ordinances. One thing is really not debatable: if Mammoth’s going to levy taxes on sales, it’s got to figure that out fast to get the measure on a June ballot.

Assistant Planner Nolan Bobroff’s presentation at Wednesday night’s council meeting got as far as a discussion of the buffers between retail businesses. Council opted for an all-of-the-above option: the buffers contained in state law, plus 500-feet between businesses plus an additional 600-foot buffer around parks. With the three buffer layers in place, retail sites would be limited to the northeast portion of the downtown zoning.

The two existing medicinal marijuana dispensaries can only legally sell to card-carrying clients until the town lifts its moratorium. In the meantime, both are turning away tourists.

That’s the situation that got the analysis paralysis reaction from Councilmember Bill Sauser. Sauser’s moved to have staff come to the February 2 meeting with an emergency measure to allow for temporary adult-use licensing of the five existing medical marijuana operations. Cleland Hoff seconded but Chair John Wentworth called the motion a reckless waste of time.

Sauser withdrew his motion.

February 2 should be the battle between analysis paralysis and a deliberative path. Council will get input from its cannabis consultant Hinderliter, de Llamas and Associates on taxation, review the draft regulatory ordinances and, according to Bobroff, possibly look at a way to convert the existing five medical marijuana businesses to adult-use operations with temporary permitting.

That should be a very long meeting.

In other action, the Council signed off on an Outline Statement of Intent for Flexibility and Cooperation in the Development of Infrastructure and Programs in Support of the Provision of Reliable and Expanded Commercial Air Service. Inyo County’s Board of Supervisors signed the statement at its meeting Tuesday.

The statement, initially drafted by Inyo County, went through some tweaks to reflect a serious effort to work together on regional air service. Public Works Director Grady Dutton called it a “serious handshake” but not binding.

While there was some concern from Sauser regarding any financial contribution from the Town of Mammoth to the Bishop Airport, Councilmember Colin Fernie conceded that “sometimes we have our Mammoth blinders on. It’s good working together,” he said. “We both have strengths and weaknesses.”

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