Members discuss options to take a position for or against, or no position at all

Canby City Council members took no position on whether or not to support a Clackamas County action to license tobacco retailers, who also sell vaping devices, for a $600 annual fee.

A few weeks ago, several members of the Tri County Health program spoke to Canby's City Council members regarding a program of licensing tobacco retailers. Since the state legislature raised the age to buy tobacco to 21 from 18, there are concerns that retailers will sell tobacco products, including vaping products, to teens.

They asked council members for their support to enforce a license on retailers selling tobacco to pay about a $600 fee to cover stings, regular inspections and education. Mayor Brian Hodson told them the council would discuss the situation.

On Sept. 5, prior to the regular council meeting, council members met to discuss what position to take. City Manager Rick Robinson started the meeting suggesting there were three positions members could take; either a formal position to support the license, one against the license, or a note taking no position at all.

It turns out that most members felt this was a done deal, county commissioners already had decided they were going to go through with the license and it didn't really matter what the council determined. In fact several noted it didn't matter whatever they decided.

"It's not a big deal either way," said Tyler Smith, "because they are taxiing to enforce prohibition."

Sarah Spoon and Tracie Heidt said they were ambivalent, but "I don't want to charge small businesses $600," said Spoon. Robinson's contradiction was "a philosophical problem. At 18 they can choose to go to war and die, but they can't buy tobacco."

Spoon questioned the abundance of under-21 aged smokers. "Is underage use prolific or is underage buying prolific?" she said adding that those statistics were missing from the presentation.

And someone questioned if the council endorsed it, were they providing the county coverage in case of a backlash. Or if the council supported everything that was brought to them, they would be not more than a rubber stamp.

The upshot was to write a letter thanking them for their presentation.

In the few minutes left of the session, Robinson brought up the mural of dahlias that Mary Hanlon asked to put on the old police building, which she now owns. She isn't accepting money from the Urban Renewal Association, and it's guaranteed for five years.

"The review committee supports it," Robinson said.

Carol Rosen
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