Mabton recently decided that it will not be taking over thirty acres of land whose owner stated that they could use to cultivate cannabis. City Council members voted 4-1 Tuesday against John and Sandy Birdlebough’s plea to annex their Gulden Road property into the city. One of the council members voting against the idea stated that she was convinced by the residents’ worries about having a cannabis farm within the city. In addition, there were concerns about the pressure the new farm would put on the city’s current water system.

“(Residents in the area) are afraid that the fellow will be growing marijuana,” said Councilwoman Oping Hutson during an interview.

It is illegal to grow cannabis in unincorporated areas of the county. However, there are not any similar laws against cultivating within the city. Hutson was joined by Sophia Sotelo, Arturo De La Fuente as well as Mark Gourneau in voting against the idea, according to City Administrator Walt Bratton. However, Councilwoman Vera Zavala, the only person to vote in favor of the farm, stated that the city was missing out on a chance to increase its tax revenue.

“I want to see this city go forward,” Zavala added.

John Birdlebough said in an email on Wednesday that he was “not at liberty” to speak out on the issue. Not too long ago, city officials stated that Birdlebough spoke about various uses, including farming cannabis, for the property, which is currently closed off for industrial and manufacturing use. Back on June 14th, council members listened to more than two hours of public comment from residents worried about growth and allowing cannabis to be grown in the city before putting forth their votes. Hutson said she shared the worries about allowing cannabis to be farmed in the city, as well as trying to supply the new development with enough water.


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