A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Pot: Council to get list of options

Written October 14th, 2015 by Hasso Hering
If it opens here, at Santiam and Pacific, this would be Albany's sixth medical pot dispensary.

If it opens here, at Santiam and Pacific, this would be Albany’s sixth medical pot dispensary.

Rather than tumble from one marijuana discussion into the next, as it has been doing, the Albany City Council has decided to get organized on the issue. The council Wednesday agreed with a suggestion by City Attorney Jim Delapoer and Assistant City Attorney Sean Kidd.

The city lawyers recommended that they — meaning Kidd, for the most part — prepare a written list of options the council could consider regarding local marijuana regulation in light of Measure 91 and state laws passed since that initiative was approved. Kidd also wants the city staff to draft a map, presumably showing the sites of  medical marijuana dispensaries and where others might locate given the city’s and state’s limitations.

The council agreed to meet at 7:15 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2, for a public work session to receive the options list, which is to be posted on the City of Albany website ahead of time, probably by the Friday before. Once the list of potential options and ramifications is presented, the council may then schedule a separate meeting to see if there are four votes for any of the choices

The council has already decided not to allow medical pot dispensaries — there are five in Albany — to sell recreational weed, as the state has alowed from this Oct. 1  till the end of 2016. That ban might be reconsidered, as two or three council members have suggested.

State law allows cities to ban recreational pot facilities and new medical dispensaries, as well as commercial grow sites, but in Albany such a ban would have to be referred to the voters in the 2016 general election. It would be in effect at least until then, and the state would not license new pot facilities in the city unless and until voters overturned the ban. Another option is to do nothing, which would open the way for recreational pot stores to apply for licenses and eventually get them where city zoning allows. (hh)

In this version of the story, I’ve fixed a typo in the date of the council meeting when the options are to be presented. (hh)

7 responses to “Pot: Council to get list of options”

  1. Jim Engel says:

    While the council ponders & postulates the “black market” is alive & thriving. It would be hoped that with dispensaries selling rect pot that the product would be coming from trusted suppliers. In Colo. there is already a lawsuit against a grower for using pesticides on crop which ultimately get concentrated in the final product. Harmful indeed. With the City banning the sale, street users would just turn to the readily available black market of which the quality of pot could be very dangerous.

  2. James Carrick says:

    The issue, as I see it is simple. The current, decades old situation will surely include black market sales within the exclusion zones proscribed by the council. Instead, by allowing medical dispensaries to sell to recreational buyers, much could be learned through EXPERIENCE, rather than allowing unfounded fears by the majority to guide their decisions. The information Sean Kidd suggests could be used wisely or unwisely. By mapping these “zones” the council might be able to “see” the consequences of their decisions more clearly, depending on their motivations. Generally, information is good but it can just as easily be misused and history is full of examples of both.

    The council majority’s stated interest is to “protect the kids”. Seems to me that in allowing medical dispensaries to sell to the recreational market, they would be putting a considerable dent in the black market, change the dynamic of recreational sales generally to a “legal” form instead of the black market, that is very well established and respects no exclusion zones. I think the council fears there will be legions of new pot smokers. I think that fear is unfounded, but I DO think MANY recreational users will prefer a legal, reputable source rather than taking their chances with black market weed. This creates an opportunity for the council.

    If the council is truly interested in solving this “problem”, perhaps they could ask/require dispensaries to track “medical” sales versus “recreational” sales in order to give the council some solid data to use in their future decisions. This could be as easy as asking each customer if they possess a MM card, or not….and keeping track of the tally. The police department might also have helpful data.

    By voting from ignorance, as I suggest Kellum, Collins, Johnson, and Konopa do, they are INSURING their coveted exclusion zones are being violated just as they always have been by the black market. If the council seeks to prohibit pot sales within certain zones, the best way to insure that WON’T happen is to do nothing. Even if councilor Coburn changes his vote (as he’s indicated he might) that still leaves Konopa as the tie-breaker, and I don’t see Kellum, Konopa, or Johnson seeing the light on this. Perhaps councilor Collins can be convinced a trial period, such as this would present, might not be a bad idea and in fact be a good idea and worth a try. Two councilors will need to change their vote.

    They might even learn something….if they don’t let their 1936 “Reefer Madness” mentality get in the way. Further note to the council: The “gateway drugs” are (and always have been) nicotine and alcohol….not pot.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      It is ironic that the only councilor who seems to see the light is Dick Olsen, and he is probably still drowsy from the “marijuana pill” he took the other day.

      Kellum, Collins, Johnson, and Konopa are in “ban” mode, who knows what Coburn is thinking, and Ray K would sell his first born to get a “compromise.”

      I doubt having six options and more meetings will change the current dynamic. This legal charade just gives political cover to the gang of four. I see an outright ban on rec weed coming and to stifle criticism, a referral of the ban to city voters, even though a majority of city voters already voted yes on rec possession and sales. If city voters say yes a second time, the gang of four will no doubt look for another legal string to pull. Hopefully the city attorney will refuse to play the game and advise them – deal with it.

      • James Carrick says:

        Gordon, the cynic in me says you are right but I know the council reads Hasso’s blog and I am trying to get the council to consider looking at this in a way they have shown no indication of. I am saying their (stated) agenda (keeping pot from kids) is fine but their methods are counter to that agenda, and by pointing out how that’s so, perhaps they’ll see the folly in their strategy.

        My impression is that Coburn is less “ban” minded than the others and more tuned into reality. He was when I knew him in school. And he has indicated he could change his vote and I don’t want to discourage that. Collins it seems, MIGHT be persuaded to at least look at it from different perspectives, but I’m not really holding my breath on a change of mind from him either. Konopa, Kellum, and Johnson have their mind made up and no amount of dynamite is enough to dislodge them from their stance. And if not for this issue, there would be NOTHING Ray K and I agree on, it seems. But rather than just gripe about it, I thought some common sense suggestions might be helpful. One can hope.

        The council and their sycophants bitch about the cost of elections………so I say let’s put it up to vote. That’s the way this is headed anyway if two of them don’t change their tune. By allowing rec sales now, the council could be empowering themselves. It’s too bad they can’t see that.

        • Gordon L. Shadle says:

          I hear you and wish you luck in your attempt to open some minds that are closed as clamshells.

          All of this talk about siting retrictiions that protect the “kids” is so disingenuous. Like Hasso pointed out in an earlier article, “schools and private houses can in fact be surrounded on all sides by little marjuana plantations right over the fence. If that doesn’t make all the tooth-gnashing over commercial marijuana restrictions sound like a waste of time, it should.”

          The council is conducting a PR campaign and wasting everyone’s time with “options” and “meetings.”

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          As Jim Delapoer stated, the Nov. 2nd work session will be where we will get the potential options by legal counsel — and that will be the time for all of us to see/digest them — and ask for additional options by the public.

          All the information we get will be readily available to the public in plenty of time anyone to come up with better solutions than what the attorneys garner — if they are out there. Regardless, we have to get 4 votes for something…

          (I still think the intial suggestion by Sean Kidd was a good one, but obviously that didn’t garner any traction before the meeting…)

  3. Bill Kapaun says:

    I guess Batman & Boy Wonder, from the city attorney’s office, decided they have to make an appearance SOMETIME this year!
    It seems they usually refer “legal questions” to somebody from out of town with “more expertise”, at an additional drain of taxpayers money.


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