If you read the local paper this morning, you know that the mayor and a couple of city councilors are "at it again". We will be at the meeting on Monday at 4 pm to see what their intention is. If you live in Ward 1, it is very important that you contact Floyd Collins and let him know how you feel about Cannabis being sold in your city. His email is email@example.com and his number is 541-928-2961. He is hunting this week, but please email and/or leave a phone message, he has testified in the meetings over the phone before.
I appreciate all the free advertising on the front page, but I really wish they would let the issue die. When they ever realize what a much nicer society we have when they "recreate with Cannabis" as opposed to alcohol, maybe they will change their mind. When they see the actual numbers of what they can pull in from the willingly paid taxes, perhaps that will tip the vote. They did, after-all, just vote to increase the tax on electricity to members in the city by 2% without any public comment or input, and that was to put a mere $940,200 in the coffer this year. Cannabis tax would bring that and more, given the chance.
All I know for sure is that I have no intention of selling recreational Cannabis and have told the council that a number of times. We are a Medical Cannabis Dispensary in every sense of the word; I mean really, how many recreational places do you know of that specialize in capsules and suppositories and recommend Sitz Baths?!
Here is a link to an article about the tax increase (note Rich Kellum voted no on that, too. He really DOESN'T want tax revenue for our city, does he? http://hh-today.com/albany-ups-city-electric-tax-uh-fee/
Here is the link to the article in today's paper: http://democratherald.com/albany/city-moves-to-change-rules-for-dispensaries/article_b0ab843e-f5fc-5bb7-8d5e-943670ce5d70.html
and the article as well since it makes you do contortions to get to read it:
NEIL ZAWICKI Albany Democrat-Herald
The Albany City Council is considering changes to zoning ordinances regulating where marijuana-related businesses inside the city limits can locate. The move has alarmed the owners of medical marijuana dispensaries.At the council's work session on Monday, councilors will discuss the proposal, which if enacted could discourage new marijuana-related businesses and affect the city's currently operating dispensaries.
The issue began with Albany’s Canna Kitchen, a dispensary on Southwest Ferry Street. The city gave it a zoning exception, allowing it to exist 300 feet from residential zoning, rather than the state requirement of 1,000 feet. Mayor Sharon Konopa said the city granted Canna Kitchen the exception only because the shop deals just with edible cannabinoids and not products that are smoked.
She also suggested the exception was granted to placate Canna Kitchen owner Rhea Graham. “We exempted Canna Kitchen just to please her,” Konopa said.
The problem now, at least for some city elected officials, is that the exception legally carries over to all dispensaries, and then in theory to retail shops that could be selling recreational marijuana. Konopa and some councilors would like to revoke the exception, returning to the 1,000-foot rule.
Not surprisingly, the move has the dispensary community up in arms.
“We have no idea why she (Konopa) has such a thing against cannabis,” said Graham. “Cannabis is legal now, just like alcohol. These two products that are both mind-altering substances should be regulated through the OLCC in the same way.” (The OLCC, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, is charged with creating rules that will govern the recreational sale of marijuana.)
At a Thursday night meeting at Canna Kitchen between dispensary owners and council members Ray Kopsczynski and Dick Olsen, Graham noted that liquor stores can be located across the street from schools and apartment complexes — well within 1,000 feet.
Kopczynski, who called the meeting essentially to advise the dispensary owners on the upcoming moves and to coach them on how to approach any opposition, addressed Graham’s point.
“I would save your breath and your emotion on that argument,” he said. “What I am hoping is that you as a group can present yourselves with logical and fair opposition.”
Kopczynski referred to the Sept. 23 council session, which lasted more than three hours and ended in a vote to ban medical marijuana dispensaries from the early sale of recreational marijuana. Opponents packed the Council Chambers at that meeting, and many presented emotional or hostile arguments.
“Sharon keeps saying we need to wait for more facts,” he said. “And she said she wants to wait and see what OLCC finally does with this, but, you know, the OLCC is constantly changing the regulations on controlled substances, so when will we ever have a final set of rules?”
Konopa maintains that waiting to see what will happen is her chief motivator.
“Right now, OLCC doesn’t know what to do,” she said. “My big issue is that there are pocket areas (in residential and industrial-zoned areas). And I don’t want it in a neighborhood. I don’t want a sign across from a kid’s home that says ‘marijuana shop.'"
Konopa also argued that more than 50 percent of the voters in Albany are against legalized marijuana. (Election numbers from Albany on Ballot Measure 91, the marijuana-legalization initiative last November, suggest that the measure narrowly passed in Albany by a 51-49 percent margin.)
Still, she said she does not want to ban pot completely.
"We just need to tweak the ordinance a bit,” she said.
But City Attorney Jim Delapoer had some cautionary words at the Sept. 23 council meeting regarding any attempts to tweak the ordinance.
“They will sue us if we try to prevent this,” Delapoer said, according to a video recording of the meeting. “And I will tell you that if the case is properly contended, our case will be difficult to defend.”
Delapoer added that it's not his job to tell the mayor or councilors what they can or cannot do. But he added: "It is my job to say whether we have a strong or a vulnerable legal case. And I think we would have a vulnerable legal case.”
In the meantime, dispensary owner Trey Mork of Albany Health Solutions believes that the city's apparent opposition to marijuana has hurt the business in Albany. And he worried that the robust early sales of recreational marijuana elsewhere in the state may give competing dispensaries the capital they need to come to Albany and displace his and other smaller businesses.
“I don’t think she wants to see recreational marijuana in Albany at all,” he said.