A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Council wants more pot restrictions

Written November 9th, 2016 by Hasso Hering
Olsen and Kopczynski may be thwarted on recreational pot despite their successful campaign.

Olsen and Kopczynski may be thwarted on recreational pot despite their successful campaign.

Open for business? Well, not exactly, at least where marijuana is concerned. A day after Albany voters overwhelmingly repealed the city council’s ban on commerce in recreational pot, Mayor Sharon Konopa and the council majority appeared ready Wednesday to impose tight restrictions on where pot stores could open.

Councilman Ray Kopczynski, the chief campaigner for overturning the city ban, forcefully argued against council action. There’s no good reason to have tight restrictions that may stop any additional recreational marijuana dispensaries, he said, or words to that effect.

(I wasn’t at the meeting because of illness, but I tried to follow it on TV despite the bumpy camera work, long angles and mumbling sound when people with soft voices talked past their microphones. The city’s website is a better way to follow those sessions from afar, but on Wednesday it was on the blink.)

The marijuana restrictions were added to the agenda at the last minute and were not available before the meeting, as is customary. “Why such a rush?” Kopczynski asked. Any anyway, he’d like to see detailed new maps showing where in Albany recreational pot businesses would be allowed under the proposed amendments to the municipal code.

Councilman Rich Kellum argued additional restrictions are needed to keep marijuana businesses away from children. But Oregon Liquor Control Commission rules are already intended to protect kids.

Kopczynski blocked a vote on the code changes, as any one member can do under council rules. Konopa said the amendments would come up for a vote at a council work session Nov. 14. But before that happens, he and fellow campaigner and Councilor Dick Olsen should insist on the detailed maps that Kopczynski requested.

Nearly 15,000 city voters decided to end the council’s ban, with about 9,000 on the other side. That’s the kind of mandate that may be risky to ignore. (hh)

7 responses to “Council wants more pot restrictions”

  1. Curtis weiland says:

    Again with the Mayor and corrupt Council members not caring about the vote and wwater the people of albany want. Too busy with their own agenda and fat pocketbooks.

  2. Curtis weiland says:

    Down with the MAYOR!!!!

  3. John Hartman says:

    The mayor and her consort, Kellum, are treading on dangerous ground. They seem to think that because they were re-elected they have some sort of mandate. Their reading of the tea leaves is distorted by their own biases. The people of Linn County and of the city of Albany have mandated one thing – that elected leaders are to be responsive to the electorate, not the other way around. Perhaps our alleged leaders will begin listening to the electorate, or perhaps not. Given Hering’s reportage, it appears the tone deafness in Council chambers has intensified despite the will of the voters.

  4. John Hartman says:

    Dear Madam Mayor and Councilor Kellum,

    I was deeply disappointed to read in the Hasso Hering column this morning that both you and Councilor Kellum have, just one day after the electorate spoke clearly on the issue, decided to weigh-in on additional restrictions on recreational cannabis businesses in Albany. Your level of tone-deafness is astounding.

    The OLCC already has sufficient cannabis business location regulations in place. The fear that the children of Albany will be ruined by cannabis businesses is a red Hering and the overwhelming vote of the people is all the proof the council requires.

    The City need not, as it’s first order of business, add to the regulatory burden. Instead, I would suggest that the Council spend it’s time considering how the city might use the tax revenue sources flowing in once the new businesses start operating.

    John Hartman
    Albany Ward III

  5. Cheryl P says:

    This is why Konopa and Kellum should NOT have been re-elected!

  6. Dave Wilson says:

    Why is the Mayor so Anti-revenue ??


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