Monday, May 14, New Richmond City Council members supported an effort by Police Chief Craig Yehlik to adopt an ordinance to address the illegal possession and use of cannabidiol (CBD) oils derived from marijuana. Yehlik noted an increase in the sale and use of the oil, particularly in vaping.
"We're starting to see more of the CBD oils coming out with all these vaping type apparatuses, the E-cigs. They're using these marijuana-based oils in them to, in essence, vap. This is prevalent here in the City of New Richmond. We're trying to keep a handle on the sales but we're also trying to keep a handle on the use," said Yehlik.
The lack of a field test to accurately measure the THC (tetrahydracannabinol- the psychoactive component) content in the oil had lead to ambiguity as to the legality of the oils. That ambiguity was further exacerbated when crime labs relegated cases dealing with questionable field test to a very low priority making misdemeanor prosecutions impractical.
In January 2018, the Department of Justice, Office of the Wisconsin Attorney General clarified that it is illegal in Wisconsin to possess CBD regardless of whether it contains a measurable amount of THC or not. The thinking behind the clarification was that using CBD in any form whether it contained THC or not, was harmful, thereby making the field test inconsequential with regard to law enforcement. With the adoption of the new ordinance, it conforms with state statute making it strictly a matter of possession.
The only exception to the new ordinance is possession via a valid prescription. It is likely charging and penalties for possession of CBD oils will be executed in municipal or county circuit court depending on quantity and intent, according to state statutes.
To see a copy of the complete ordinance, contact the City clerk's Office at 715-246-4268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sticking with the health theme, council members adopted a second ordinance intended to deter under age vaping. The new ordinance makes possession or use of E-cigs, vaping or any other equipment that can be used to inhale vaporized oils or liquids, whether they contain tobacco or not, by anyone under the age of 18 illegal unless they are in their own home with parental consent or in possession for legitimate sale in the course of their employment. An additional ordinance addressing vaping on school property was tabled pending further consultation between Yehlik and the school district. Yehlik was also asked to research potential policy to address vaping on city property.
Forward New Richmond
Council members voted to repeal the Economic Development Commission and replace it with Forward New Richmond, an advisory body consisting of eight citizens and one member of the City Council. The group will be charged with reviewing projects and ideas pertaining to economic development, reporting their findings and making recommendations to City Council. Members will be required to sign confidentiality agreements and attend regular training and educational events as directed by the City Council.
The inaugural group of appointees to Forward New Richmond includes Tom Mews, Summer Seidenkranz, Heather McAbee, Paul Mayer, Karl Skoglund, Cathy Longtin, Rob Kreibich and Susan Lockwood. Members will be appointed by the City Council and serve three year staggered terms limited to no more than two consecutive terms of service. The mayor will appoint a chairperson and vice-chairperson each year to be approved by the council. "Our focus will be New Richmond and the surrounding area. One thing we stressed with all of the applicants is, it's a new day, whatever grievances there have been in the past are in the past, tomorrow is a new day. We all need to work together. We are a fast growing community with a lot of things happening. We plan to sit down in three months to review what's working and what isn't working so we can make any changes and adjustments," said Mayor Fred Horne. Forward New Richmond will hold its first meeting Friday, May 18. Other business
• The City received a grant worth $37,602 from the DNR to pay for half the cost to reconstruct the boat ramp at Mary Park. Provided the project meets with CIP approval, construction could begin in 2019.
• The New Richmond Police Department's K-9 team, Officer Katie Chevrier and K-9 Storm, are scheduled to graduate May 24.
• New Richmond Regional Airport Manager and pilot Mike Demulling has created an online library of aerial photography of New Richmond and the surrounding area at: www.newrichmondwi.us/
• The 2017 Fourth quarter Financial Report and 2018 Reporting Schedule are available on the City's website at: www.newrichmondwi.gov/ click on the Finance tab.
• The construction contract for 2018 Street & Utility Improvement Projects was awarded to Haas Sons Inc. in the amount of $1,420,482.69. The projects include 125th Street - City Portion, 125th Street - Township Portion, East Fourth Street, County Road A Trail, Phase 1, Stormwater Pond #265 and Pulverizing the former DQ parking lot. Construction is expected to begin in July.
• The Council awarded SEH the 2018 project engineering contract for $64,144.
• The 2018 Crack Filling contract was awarded to Fahrner Asphalt Sealers for $26,083.71.
• Council members approved a sale of Surplus Property as designated by the Public Works Department through the WI Surplus Auction website (www.wisconsinsurplus.com). Expected proceeds from the sale of the equipment worth $47,339.05 will be put toward the purchase of the new Bobcat Toolcat 5610 at a cost of $55,693.00. The remaining 15% will be paid for with revenues from the stormwater utility.
• The Council approved renaming North Pierson Street, High Street.
Editor's note: A previous version of the story referred to cannabidiol oils as CDB oils instead of CBD.