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HASSO HERING

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Finally, a new Albany pot ordinance!

Written December 8th, 2016 by Hasso Hering
At half past midnight, the council took a break so City Attorney Sean Kidd could draft the pot ordinance that finally passed.

At half past midnight Thursday, the council took a break so City Attorney Sean Kidd could draft the pot ordinance that finally passed.

Just before 1 this morning, after a marathon session that the mayor said was the second-longest of her tenure, the Albany City Council passed an ordinance that allows existing medical dispensaries to seek state licenses as recreational marijuana retail stores.

All four council members present voted for the compromise measure, as did Bessie Johnson, who participated by phone. Councilor Dick Olsen was absent in an apparent attempt to thwart passage of the far more restrictive ordinance that had been on the agenda.

The new law takes effect immediately, and city officials said that today they would start issuing “land use compatibility statements” required before the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will process license applications by would-be recreational pot businesses. Three of Albany’s medical pot dispensaries have asked for those statements so they can become recreational retailers.

One of them went to Circuit Court Tuesday to compel the city to issue the land use statement, and a hearing on the suit for a writ of mandamus is scheduled Friday afternoon before Circuit Judge Dan Murphy. But the issue now is apparently moot since the city will issue the land use statements without being compelled.

Wednesday’s marijuana debate spilled over into Thursday morning because it didn’t even begin until 10:35 p.m. Starting at 7:15, the council had busied itself with a slew of routine business before launching into the main event.

The ordinance on the agenda would have banned recreational marijuana businesses including retail shops almost everywhere in town by saying they could not be within 300 feet of properties in residential and several other zones, with the distance measured from property line to property line. The final version approved 5-0 retains those restrictions for pot producers, processors and wholesalers. But it removes retailers, leaving them subject to a city law passed more than a year ago. That law has the same 300-foot limit, but the city has measured the distance not from the boundary line of the property but from the actual marijuana facility. That allowed for some room for the existing dispensaries to set up, and they can now, if they want, become recreational retailers as well. So can others similarly situated.

Retailers must still pay the city an annual fee in an amount yet to be determined by the council. That’s in addition to the state licensing and other fees. The adopted law also requires marijuana producers and processors to “be located in a fully enclosed facility.” Some councilors had worried about odors from outdoor grows. (hh)

 

 

 

 



9 responses to “Finally, a new Albany pot ordinance!”

  1. Diana Roe says:

    Finally, Albany decides to do what its voters have asked for. I was beginning to think our only hope was to vote out our poorly high school educated city council and get some real politicians in there with at least 2 year degrees!

  2. John Hartman says:

    Let the Council’s recent reticence be remembered. Like dead fish, the Albany City Council’s foot dragging on a rather simple issue was beginning to stink. So much so that it only took until 1AM to cut a deal.

    Now, perhaps the City’s Overlords will move onto more important matters: namely the spate of illegal tows certain to occur near and around The Carousel once the merry go round starts spinning.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      That carousel is really starting to stand tall. I had not been to the post office in some time so imagine my ahhh driving West on 1st. Easy to see a dome forming or more of a top hat. Made me smile.

      Back to the council….

      5-0-1(absent) doesn’t sound like much of a deal. More of a surrender. Let’s talk “what to do” with the tax revenue now!!

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        It’s called a hard-fought compromise. Both sides a tad unhappy, but I guess that’s what a good compromise looks like. IMO, a year+ from now, we’ll all look back and wonder why we wasted so much time…

        • hj.anony1 says:

          That would be the best outcome. I’m not convinced that this saga is over. Still, it is all very laughable!!

          “…ordinance that restricts marijuana wholesalers, processors and producers from operating within 300 feet of any residence or school, and must be housed in a fully enclosed facility.”

          Quote above from the fish wrapper. A plant created by the all mighty. Treated like the devil’s work. *raises eyebrow*

  3. James Engel says:

    Way back when if this council was a wagon train headed for the Oregon territories I’d bet they’d find themselves staring at the Atlantic ocean after weeks of silly effort. Maybe if someone drew them a map they could at least find their way to point “A” so they could start. They sure don’t pay attention to their voters’ desires!……JE

  4. Tony White says:

    Much of the argument centers around money and how the City Council plans to get it. If the People want recreational marijuana, the Council should stand back and let them have it with minimal regulation and bureaucracy. The People have demonstrated their consent to this several times and should now concentrate on protecting youth while getting out of the lives of adults. If adults want to improve the gene pool, let them.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      Respectively disagree! I don’t see it centered around money. Although that $$ grab begins now.

      This was all about keeping this consumable out of pristine Albany despite it being here all along.

  5. John Hartman says:

    If you enjoy watching an exercise in near-futility, I urge you to watch the December 5 City Council meeting on Cable Access. If you enjoy watching elected leaders as they attempt to stall, delay and deny the will,of the public, then you will thoroughly enjoy the smug anti-democratic council members who, if given the chance, would deny you your rights.

    Fortunately, saner heads eventually prevail during the course of council deliberations and the anti-democratic forces which exist to deny you your rights are finally defeated. But listen carefully to their machinations. There is still pressure from those who believe their judgement trumps that of the electorate. They still want to limit your rights and strip away the freedoms. Be careful in this Golden Authoritarian Age of Trump. The Albany City Council seems only too ready to emulate Trump, threatening democracy.

 

 
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