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Government — City Council will use six-month window to determine future action; Weaver sole member to support ordinance preventing sales of recreational marijuana from existing dispensaries

By Casey Taylor, Newberg Graphic intern

With the recent passage of Senate Bill 460 by the Legislature, the Dundee City Council had a decision to make: The bill permits medical marijuana dispensaries to sell a limited amount of marijuana flowers and immature marijuana plants to recreational consumers starting Oct. 1. However, SB 460 stipulates that cities and counties may enact an ordinance that prohibits these early recreational sales.

Unless a city or county passes an ordinance that prohibits the early sale of recreational marijuana, currently existing medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to sell to recreational users over the age of 21 one quarter ounce of marijuana flowers and four immature marijuana plants per day.

Mike Genovese, vice president and managing partner of Dundee’s sole medical marijuana dispensary, Chalice Farms, 1178 N. Highway 99W, has indicated that his company intends to apply for the early recreational sale program.

“We’ve gone above and beyond to set the highest standard possible for the store,” Genovese said at the council’s Aug. 4 meeting. “The state Legislature and the OLCC have repeatedly said that we have set the standard; we are the model business for what they want to see the state do.”

A majority of the council members had little to say in support of passing an ordinance, as it would only prevent recreational sales until SB 460 expires on Dec. 31, 2016.

“For us to pass an ordinance on this, it kind of seems like an arbitrary ordinance to cover a temporary situation. It’s not the type of thing I’m in to,” said Mayor David Russ. He went on to say that allowing the early sale program in Dundee would give the city a valuable six month trial period to determine if they want to ban recreational marijuana sales outright at a later date. Russ also liked that early recreational sales would take business away from the black market by giving citizens a legal outlet to purchase marijuana.

Yet, some council members still had reservations about allowing early recreational sales.

“Even though the state as a whole passed Measure 91, our county did not,” said Councilor Storr Nelson. Despite going against the wishes of the county’s constituents, Nelson admitted he was unable to think of another compelling reason to prevent early recreational marijuana sales.

Councilor Tim Weaver was the only council member to indicate support for an ordinance that would prevent early recreational sales.

“Our community did not approve the use of recreational marijuana and I return to my experiences across Colorado, Washington and in Oregon,” said the retired police officer. “Our cannabis abuse, especially on the highway, is on the rise and it’s not being controlled and I believe it comes back to a public safety issue and I deeply struggle with opening that door to allow it in.

“A temporary prohibition is a prohibition and I have to take into account the citizens who have met with me and contacted me expressing their concerns.”

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