City Council to hear case for marijuana decriminalization

City Council to hear case for marijuana decriminalization

January 4, 2015 • By Mike Anderson

CEDAR FALLS | The City Council will hear a presentation from local advocates in support of decriminalizing the possession of certain amounts of marijuana within the city limits.

Councilman Nick Taiber first raised the idea of decriminalizing the drug in November, prompting action from Allen Hays, a retired University of Northern Iowa political science professor and former director of the school’s graduate program in public policy.

Hays is the chairman of the War on Drugs task force, a branch of the Cedar Valley Citizens for Undoing Racism, the advocacy group that is expected to present its case to the council during the committee-of-the-whole meeting on Monday evening.

Hays and his fellow advocates agree with Taiber’s argument that the state and national racial disparities n marijuana related arrests are unacceptable, and local decriminalization of the drug is one way to lessen the problem.

The council will also receive an update of a zoning ordinance amendment that will clarify off street parking regulations, delineate the allowable types of driveways within the city, and impose stricter requirements for open space on properties within the city.

The zoning amendment sprang out of discussions held by the rental housing task force. It is the first of several other amendments that city staff are expected to generate for approval by the council within the coming months.

The committee-of-the-whole meeting will begin at 5 p.m. on Monday in council chambers at city hall, 220 Clay St. The meetings are televised and open to attendance by the public.