A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Council eyes potential pot limits

Written May 23rd, 2016 by Hasso Hering
Assistant City Attorney points to hard-to-see map showing potential cannabis store zones.

Assistant City Attorney Sean Kidd points to a hard-to-see map showing potential cannabis store zones if certain regulations are changed or adopted.

Don’t count on being able to buy recreational marijuana at many places in Albany if it becomes legal in the city at all. Maps prepared for the city council suggest there may be few if any locations where sales would be allowed.

The council is trying to be ready with regulations on the “time, manner and place” of cannabis commerce in case Albany voters in the November election overturn the council-passed ban on this business. The council dealt with the subject at Monday’s work session but didn’t make much progress.

Existing medical marijuana dispensaries — there seem to be four of them now — are not affected by any potential new city rules unless they seek to become sellers of recreational cannabis.

As a first step, councilors had asked for and the staff prepared maps illustrating where marijuana commerce might be allowed depending on what the council adopts as to limits on place. But the council hasn’t said what those limits might be.

One map (below) showed all parts of town zoned for retail sales of any kind. If Albany drops its existing ban and adopts no regulations, that’s where cannabis stores could go if they could find space to buy or lease.

Two other maps showed much, much less territory available to marijuana retailers if the rules already limiting medical dispensaries are applied or made a little more restrictive in terms of distance from residential areas, as some on the council want to do.

City Attorney Jim Delapoer cautioned the council against talking too much about where on the maps cannabis stores might be allowed. Someone could challenge the outcome on the grounds that the city was imposing new land-use restrictions, which can’t be done without a lot of procedural steps. Nevertheless, councilors asked to get digital copies of the maps so they can take a closer look.

Staff members repeated that the council has many choices in what it wants to regulate when it comes to recreational marijuana if the voters overturn the existing city ban. Among the possibilities are operating hours, proximity to each other or other uses or zones, proximity to certain streets, only in permanent buildings, not allowed as a home occupation, no security bars on windows, no outdoor storage, and regulations on odor or light or noise. And that’s just for retail. Local regulations regarding time, place and manner also can be imposed on other aspects of marijuana businesses, such as wholesale and processing.

At least two council members, Ray Kopczynski and Dick Olsen, are leaning against city regulation of recreational marijuana beyond what the state already regulates. But the other four councilors and the mayor have previously favored additional rules, especially in regard to place.

None of it will matter if voters uphold the council’s ban on recreational cannabis commerce on Nov. 8. (hh)

Parts of Albany zoned for retail generally are highlighted in green.

Parts of Albany zoned for retail generally are highlighted in green.

10 responses to “Council eyes potential pot limits”

  1. Shaun says:

    Albany–backward to the bitter end.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      Agreed. Bitter end indeed but running a close second is Linn County.

      HH, I saw text below as a commenter’s signature on a tech blog. Hope it brings a smile to your face …perhaps a chuckle even…. when placed in the context of the comments on your informative blog. Mine included. ;)

      “English is a difficult enough language to interpret correctly when its rules are followed, let alone when a writer chooses not to follow those rules.”
      – typed by someone of the inter webs

  2. Jim Engel says:

    And yet there is alcohol sales all around the City. Our Council doesn’t turn that revenue back to the State! The “black market” is probably very happy with the council’s restrictions. There wasn’t any reason at the Salem witch trials either….;-)..JE

  3. Shane says:

    So the voters approved it once and the council banned it, now they are wasting more time and tax payer money in case we overturn the ban? Wow, fine work. Remember who you work for and represent. I don’t smoke pot but I can assure you it causes far fewer problems than the alcohol most of you are happy to partake in.
    How about taking advantage of some of those tax dollars it will bring in?

  4. Bill Kapaun says:

    Maybe the council members (except Ray) should go over to Corvallis and observe the various pot stores?
    They would find out there’s nothing to see except a low key business.
    If it wasn’t for the sign outside, they’d have no idea what kind of business it was.

    Ray can hang around the Amtrak station and see how many of the Cascades runs are buses instead of trains.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      I’ll take your word for it Bill. I’m presuming that having that many as you indicate is indicative of the “fullness” of the trains?

  5. Rhea Graham says:

    I see a discrimination suit in their future.

  6. Dick Olsen says:

    I’m more than leaning. Pot sales should have the same opportunity as grocery stores,taverns, bars and liquor stores. Dick Olsen Councilman Ward I

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      I totally agree Dick. Show me the problems that have arisen in Corvallis since they allowed dispensaries to sell on 10/1 last year. There are no lines out the door, yet Corvallis is reaping the rewards of that business plus all the additional business that travels with it from Albany to Corvallis… And “we” are holding our noses very high in the air and saying “we” don’t want it? Riiiight. We do have to wait until Nov. folks. But we WILL vote to allow it AGAIN! All we are doing now is getting our ducks in a row for that distinct probability.

  7. Cheryl Bammel Post says:

    The cry-babies on the City Council need to spend some time in Corvallis. Maybe spend a few hours parked out the dispensaries several times a week, go into them and check them out.

    Because of my husband’s Idiopathic Small Fiber Neuropathy, we spend an average of $100 a month on high CBD cannabis. I can’t remember the last time I bought gas in Albany, just as easy to get it while I’m in Corvallis. And while I’m in Corvallis, might as well stop at the grocery store to pick up items that I used to get in Albany.

    I really dislike it when I vote for something and then my government decides to treat me like a little kid who doesn’t know their own mind. Unless I am voting for something that “they’ want and then I am so wise.


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