Jessica Cejnar / Thursday, Oct. 15 @ 3:13 p.m.
Majority of Yurok Voters Support Cannabis Marketplace, According To Unofficial Election Results
A majority of Yurok Tribal voters supported the ability to purchase cannabis products within the reservation, according to preliminary election results released Thursday.
The advisory cannabis marketplace referendum garnered 531 yes votes and 455 no votes, according to the election results. Though the Yurok Tribal Council wants to hear from its membership about an endeavor, the referendum vote will not have any immediate effect on the tribe’s constitution or laws, according to the tribe's Yurok Today Election 2020 newsletter.
The vote was conducted by mail on Wednesday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The newsletter outlined the pros of a cannabis marketplace, which includes bringing economic opportunity and jobs to the Yurok community, additional revenue that can benefit the tribe and its members as well as a Yurok Tribe Agricultural Regulatory Board that would oversee the marketplace.
Cons outlined in the newsletter include increased law enforcement on the reservation and traffic to the area and the community. The tribe also has yet to release information about whether a cannabis marketplace would be profitable, according to the newsletter.
Meanwhile, according to the election results, Tribal Council incumbents Edward “Horse” Aubrey, Ryan Ray and Toby Vanlandingham have been re-elected to another term.
Aubrey, representing the Yurok Tribe’s North District, received 116 votes. Challengers Phillip L. Williams and Jack Mattz received 85 and 68 votes respectively, coming in second and third.
Requa District representative Ryan Ray received 94 votes to David L. Gensaw Sr.’s 50, according to the preliminary election results.
Vanlandingham, who received 30 votes, will continue to represent the Tribe’s Weitchpec District. He defeated challengers Lucinda “Inday” Myers, who received 17 votes, Eugene “Gino” O’Rourke, who received 15 votes, and Jewel Frank, who received six votes, according to the election results.
The tribe’s Election Board will meet Oct. 20 to certify the election results. For more information, call the Election Department at (707) 482-1350 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.