Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The longest Missoula City Council meeting in recent memory was finally gaveled to a close just before 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday, after having begun at 6:00 p.m. on Monday.

I spoke with Missoula City Council President Amber Sherrill on Tuesday morning about the marathon session and why it lasted so long.

City Council President on Monday Night's Marathon Meeting

“We had the urban camping, or really what we need to say is the ‘crisis camping’ issue, in that we're trying to strike a balance and regulate it and have it where while we're being compassionate, we’re also we're pushing people to go into the shelters that we funded, and we're making space that people can camp overnight in certain areas, but they can't camp in other areas,” began Sherrill.

Sherrill said after all the arguments, the issue passed with a wide majority.

One Controversial Topic Dealt With What is Now Called 'Crisis Camping'

“Obviously it passed 10 to 2, but there were people that wanted to make some tweaks and people that wanted to make some substantive changes,” she said. “We just had to work through that whole process. We have no sideboards, or we could still be in the meeting! Thank goodness I got four hours of sleep.”

Another issue that took a great deal of time at Monday night’s City Council meeting was a proposal to place a moratorium on any new medical marijuana dispensaries since so many have opened in Missoula over such a short period of time.

Another Called for a Moratorium on New Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

“When recreational marijuana got legalized, there were not very many sideboards put on it at the state level, which left it up to the municipalities, which is fine, but we were reacting. We did put some buffer zones around schools.”

Sherrill said the explosion of new cannabis dispensaries in Missoula has resulted in worries about the possibility of use by minors.

“I'll be honest, we did not anticipate this level of shops in our community,” she said. “Of course, it is a free market. But I do think that our focus is not trying to tell someone that's of age what they can do and it's legal and so people are going to do what they do with it. What this ordinance is trying to do is to put some sideboards on it in hopes of reducing youth use of cannabis.”


Ward 6 City Councilor Sandra Vasecka told KGVO that there have been meetings that have gone longer, ironically a recent meeting on June 10, also dealing with Urban Camping, lasted until 3:49 a.m.

A Missoula City Councilor receives a $15,000 annual stipend, along with full healthcare benefits.

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Gallery Credit: Joe Cunningham

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