Pot policy: Mount Angel, Silverton outline ordinances for marijuana sales

October 2015 Posted in Community, News

By Kristine Thomas 

On Oct. 1, medical marijuana dispensaries can begin selling up to one-quarter ounce of marijuana per person, per day to recreational users. In January, recreational retail stores can open. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) is still working on the rules and regulations for businesses selling recreational marijuana.

What does this mean for the cities of Mount Angel and Silverton?

Mount Angel 

Mount Angel City Manager Eileen Stein said the city council voted to allow “medical marijuana facilities” in Mount Angel on March 30 with Ordinance 743.

“The ordinance contains conditions under which they are allowed, effectively the ‘time, place and manner’ allowed under state law,” Stein said. “It was designed for medical marijuana dispensaries, but given the way it is defined, we believe it can apply to recreational marijuana as well, for the time being. The council has not yet discussed regulating recreational marijuana.”

In order to clarify what she meant by “for the time being,” Stein explained that although the Oregon State Legislature allowed a jump start on recreational sales at medical marijuana dispensaries starting Oct. 1, “given the zoning regulations that were adopted, I don’t see medical or recreational marijuana facilities locating in Mount Angel, certainly not in the short term.”

Stein added that other than one quick inquiry several months ago, there have been no other question received about medical or recreational marijuana facilities in the city.

Stein said in Section 10.8 of the ordinance the zoning regulations are outlined for where medical marijuana facilities can be located.

“They are allowed as a conditional use in the general commercial and light industrial zones, but may not be located within 1,000 feet of schools, another medical marijuana facility, childcare facility, public park, recreational facility, athletic field, public library, or any residential zone,” Stein said. “They may not operate as drive-through facilities, home occupations, can only have a maximum square footage of 3,000, must be permanently affixed to the ground, and other conditions as the Planning Commission decides.”

Stein said the next question for the council is whether it wishes to refer a prohibition measure to the voters. It has until Dec. 24 to decide.

“If the council decides to, the referral effectively puts a moratorium in place until the election occurs in November 2016,” Stein said. “This referral ability was approved by HB 3400, the bill that modified the provisions of Measure 91.”

Although the Silverton City Council voted on a marijuana ordinance at its September meeting, the ordinance isn’t final until the council votes a second time.

Silverton City Manager Bob Willoughby said two votes by the council are required to pass an ordinance. The Silverton council will take a second vote at its Monday, Oct. 5 meeting regarding the time, place and manner in which marijuana can be sold.

“As long as the basic subject matter of the ordinance does not change, amendments to an ordinance can be approved and voted on at the second reading,” Willoughby said.The city currently has a temporary moratorium restricting medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries, which expires Oct. 6.

While other Oregon cities have voted to place a temporary ban on marijuana until the OLCC and the Oregon Health Authority have regulations in place, four of the seven Silverton councilors indicated in a work session they are not interested in putting a permanent or temporary ban in place. Councilors Laurie Carter, Jason Freilinger, Kyle Palmer and Dana Smith expressed opposition to a ban. Mayor Rick Lewis and Councilor Ken Hector spoke in support of a ban.

After the vote 6-1 at the September meeting, with Council Jim Sears joining the majority, Hector explained by voting no, the ordinance is carried over to the next meeting where the councilors can review in writing the numerous verbal changes they made to the ordinance.

“This delay only serves to ensure the council will be able to see exactly what they are committing to law in Silverton,” Hector said on Facebook after being criticized for his ‘no’ vote. “When passing laws, in my opinion it is prudent to have the exact language of the proposed law in front of you before a vote, particularly when there are numerous changes to the original version.’

Hector is concerned the OLCC and the OHA have not decided rules and regulations. “Now it is likely to be more of a hodge podge of ordinances from city-to-city,” he said.

Willoughby said there has been one application for a medical marijuana dispensary. “That application is being processed by the Oregon Health Authority. The city has been asked for a land use compatibility comment. No one can apply for a recreational license until January of 2016.”

It is not clear how much tax revenue the city will receive from marijuana sales, Willoughby said. He also does not know how much it will cost the Silverton Police Department to monitor and enforce the law.

Mayor Rick Lewis opposes retail marijuana outlets in Silverton. “(Measure 91) only passed by 17 votes (in Silverton) and it did not address local sales, which was why the state gave local voters the ability to say yes or no to local commercial grow sites and sales,” Lewis said. He said he voted in favor of the ordinance because there was a clear council majority in favor of local sales and it was fruitless to argue. The local ordinance enables the council to impose controls that will ultimately be the best that can be done under the circumstances.

“I would have much preferred to let the voters decide on local sales and commercial grows because the vote on Measure 91 was so close. This is more about what the majority of local citizens want than anything else. I find it difficult to say local voters should have a fair say in some things and not in others. In my opinion, that would have been the right thing to do. But I would rather see a local ordinance than no local controls.”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.