Out of “abundance of caution,” as was said several months ago, the Newport City Council held off approving medical marijuana dispensaries within the city limits of the town until it could attach reasonable regulations surrounding their operations.
Armed with those additional regulations the city council Monday evening could approve medical marijuana sales to anyone who possesses a medical marijuana card. At least one state approved medical marijuana dispensary at 15th and 101 has been waiting for the better part of a year to open up.
The new regulations that are expected to be approved by the council include criminal background checks on not only the owner of a marijuana dispensary, but also everyone who works there. State required surveillance video on premise must also be made available to local law enforcement for their review to ensure the dispensaries are properly operated since the state has not yet hired enough field inspectors to do the job properly, according to Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda. And all security alarms that go off at dispensaries will be forwarded to the police – even false alarms. But a request by Chief Miranda that dispensaries carry extra liability insurance was turned down since it could be construed as unequal treatment of a legally operating retail establishment since no other similar retail businesses are required to carry such special insurance.
According to the Oregon Health Authority Lincoln County has 14 paid applications for medical marijuana dispensaries – 7 fully approved by the state but still subject to local county and city review and concurring approval. Dispensaries already open include Pipe Dreams in Lincoln City at 1745 SW Highway 101, Ste. C. In Waldport, there are two – Coastal Cannabinoids at Range Road and Highway 101 and Waldport Cannabis at 250 SW 101. Going Green West, although approved by the state for a site on Olalla Road and Highway 20, is still being held up by Lincoln County Commissioners under advice of County Counsel Wayne Belmont who appears to be shepherding a more conservative view of regulatory options for the commissioners.
The Newport City Council begins its regular twice a month meeting Monday at 6pm at city hall.