A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany pot: Action due this week

Written July 24th, 2016 by Hasso Hering
With map in hand, I looked at possible pot sale locations, green on the printout.

With map in hand, I looked at possible pot sale locations, green on the printout. This is 41st Ave.

This week the Albany City Council plans to put recreational marijuana sales up to the voters in the general election, at the same time asking for approval of a 3 percent tax on cannabis sales. And it will continue debating proposed regulations that would ban marijuana sales almost everywhere in town even if voters want to allow them.

Ordinances placing the sales tax and the council’s prohibition of recreational marijuana commerce on the Nov. 8 ballot are on the council’s agenda for action Monday and Wednesday. Also set for Wednesday, more talk about regulations on the “time, place and manner” of the pot business if voters overturn the ban.

Three council members and the mayor have been arguing for tightening the existing city codes on where marijuana dispensaries and shops could locate if allowed at all. According to a map prepared by the city staff, the majority proposal would not allow sales or dispensaries anywhere west or north of Pacific Boulevard. On the other side of Pacific (Highway 99E) in southeast Albany, the map shows isolated spots where sales would be allowed, but a bike tour last week showed me that these sites may not actually be available.

One of the larger allowable areas is east of I-5 off the south end of Fescue Street, but there are no streets there. Another sizable permitted area would be an out-of-the way tract along 41st Avenue off the southern tip of Marion Street, the home of several businesses including a portable-toilet service and lots of undeveloped, vacant land.

Also on the map of “possible dispensary/sale locations,” there are parcels zoned for industry or commerce along segments of Ferry Street, Queen Avenue and Santiam Highway east of I-5. But as near as I could tell, most of these places are in use. So even if voters approve recreational pot sales this fall, the council majority’s map — if eventually adopted — might have nearly the same effect as the existing ban. (hh)


A storage business on Queen Avenue, where the map shows a pot store could operate.

A storage business on Queen Avenue, where the map shows a pot store could operate.



17 responses to “Albany pot: Action due this week”

  1. Bill Kapaun says:

    The hypocrisy of this mayor/council is amazing.
    They don’t want pot, but they still want to tax it.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      On this issue, in great part, I totally agree with your 1st sentence. However, if you bother to read the ordinance, it explicitly states that if/when Albany approves recreational cannabis sales (again & for the 2nd time), the tax will be ready to use. If the voters approve the existing ban, it is moot.

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        Why do you DESERVE to collect a tax?
        That just shows the “entitlement attitude” of the mayor/council when it comes to the citizens money.
        You may claim it requires more police enforcement etc., but is there a “sales tax” on other crimes?
        If one breaks the law, arrest/cite them and let the courts collect the fines like any other crime.

        IF it’s a “sin tax”, why doesn’t the mayor/council try to introduce a SALES TAX on tobacco & alcohol?

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          “You may claim it requires more police enforcement etc.,…”

          The state component (now at 25% going to 17%) does do that. The 3% Albany and other cities can have, does not.

          “IF it’s a “sin tax”, why doesn’t the mayor/council try to introduce a SALES TAX on tobacco & alcohol?”

          Obviously it is a “sin tax.” It is one folks will gladly pay inasmuch as the resulting overall tax will still be 20% less than it is now. Alcohol & Tobacco are already heavily taxed – and folks do pay those albeit not gladly.

    • Bob Woods says:

      Hypocrisy: the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do : behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel

      Can you show where the Council members who oppose marijuana actually smoke it? That would be hypocrisy,

      Can you show where they say they oppose any new taxes of any kind? That would be hypocrisy.

      All you show is that you need a dictionary.

  2. Rhea Graham says:

    We need the rules for stores selling pharmaceuticals and alcohol to match the rules for dispensaries for medical and recreational. This is just so far out of hand! These new restrictions will also apply to medical. Stop discriminating against people who choose to use Cannabis for their medicine or recreation, it is much healthier! There is no HealTHCare without THC.

  3. Gini says:

    How stupid are these people? Marijuana has been here for decades. Let us open up shops so that the city can get the taxes fairly

  4. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “But as near as I could tell, most of these places are in use. So even if voters approve recreational pot sales this fall, the council majority’s map — if eventually adopted — might have nearly the same effect as the existing ban.”

    Bingo! And to my mind, that again flies in the face of the majority of Albany voters who supported M91.

    As the city attorney has stated several times, the 3 maps he and staff offered were very simply their subjective offering of 3 potential options — all of which were totally changeable by council. At this point, council has chosen to dismiss the two more “open” options, and use language for the 3rd option — the absolute most restrictive one as you indicate.

    State law says any restrictions have to be reasonable. Considering the majority of voters already want recreational cannabis available (and will say so again this fall), attempting to use the option you describe definitely falls under the guise of being unreasonable.

    As the city attorney also stated, going above & beyond what the state requires also has the potential of legal challenge. I totally agree and will support a legal challenge if we continue down this path of denying the will of the voters by trying to effectively eliminate reasonable options for recreational cannabis sales.

  5. Tony White says:

    Let’s just return the business to the illegals and the mob. They did a better job of satisfying demand anyway, and you could buy it on any street corner.

    • Heritage Mall Blues says:

      The business never left the illegals in Linn County. You can still buy pot from the same illegal drug dealers that have been selling it for years. Until Albany allows recreational weed stores, the drug dealers will have no reason to quit and weed customers will continue to have the additional hard drugs that many drug dealers offer.

  6. Robert kahn says:

    I am tired of being slapped in the face and insulted by these
    people. I will campaign to have ALL these yahoos on the
    council and the mayor removed. If they don’t want to listen
    to the voters, then they need to go.

  7. hj.anony1 says:

    Seems like a ridiculous, dual track effort here on the part of the ACC.

    Also seems the taxation on this product has been inconsistent since rollout. Zero during the first few months then jumping to 25%. Then reduced to 20%. Now 17% at the state level?

    With the additional 3 percent tax, on top of the state’s 17%, I wonder at what point is the black market for marijuana less expensive.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      What you call “dual track” is required by state law. The taxation issue has also been as dictated by state law.

      If you grow your own, it will always be less expensive. Most folks will gladly pay to have it sold in retail shops that are well regulated, well lit, & staffed by courteous employees. That has already been very well proven with the revenue generated by only the few medical shops selling early — and at that high 25% tax rate. The tax rate will still be zero for medical card holders if they buy from a licensed dispensary.

      There will always be a black market.

      • hj.anony1 says:

        I suppose you are correct Mr. K. about “… always a black market”.

        However, I hope you can clear up the confusion in my head about the current dual track. Am I wrong when I say there would only be one track if the ACC followed the will of the people at the ballot box?

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          “Am I wrong when I say there would only be one track if the ACC followed the will of the people at the ballot box?”

          Had ACC got on board with the M91 results and came up with reasonable TPMs after the M91 vote, we would already have added the 3% tax and local dispensary’s (at their option) could already have been selling recreational cannabis aka Corvallis, etc. since last October 1st. And, as you are aware, “…there hasn’t been any mushroom clouds over Corvallis…” since then. And we would also have been able to start receiving state tax distributions along with our 3% added.

          • hj.anony1 says:

            Correct. No mushroom cloud observed. Plus those shops over there are right on the main street through town.

            Corvallis just now getting around to that 3% additional sin tax though.

  8. Dick Olsen says:

    Thanks Ray. You do a great job explaining the Pot details. Pot should be sold and regulated in the same sensible way we treat alcohol and tobacco. Dick Olsen Councilman Ward I


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