(Creative Commons photo by Brett Levin)

(Creative Commons photo by Brett Levin)

In a split vote Monday, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly agreed to add language to all votes related to routine state marijuana license-application reviews.

That language is meant to protect the borough in case the federal government decides to start cracking down on states that have legalized pot. The language states that the borough doesn’t endorse or condone activities prohibited by federal law.

During Assembly discussion of the issue, Assembly Member Judith McQuerry argued that the added language doesn’t accomplish anything, because it’s the state that issues the licenses – not the borough.

She says it’s a statement that some Assembly members want added because they personally don’t approve of marijuana, and that it’s nothing more than window dressing.

News TileAssembly Member Stephen Bradford then suggested adding more language, stating that the federal law making marijuana illegal violates the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Bradford says the 10th Amendment is very simple and clear.

“It merely states that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people,” he said.

Bradford says he generally agrees with McQuerry on the issue of the added language, but thinks if the borough is going to make a statement, it should include a statement about the 10th Amendment.

McQuerry voted for Bradford’s amendment, but said, “I think that’s adding lace to the window dressing.”

The amendment passed unanimously. The main motion then passed in a 5-2 vote, with McQuerry and Bradford voting no.