Still ruminating retail marijuana sales regulations –
The Newport City Council Monday night was still fidgeting about where retail marijuana outlets can locate within the Newport City limits. Under Oregon Liquor Control Commission rules any outlet must be at least 1,000 feet from a school. Councilor Laura Swanson asked “What about pre-schools?” City Manager Spencer Nebel said “that’s a good question,” Swanson responding that “Little kids are very impressionable at that age and I’m very concerned about them being exposed to that stuff.”
City Attorney Steve Rich chimed in saying that under OLCC regulations just adopted, they refer to only public schools. Rich reminded the council that private schools come and go and move around. He said it can become a real problem for businesses already up and running to worry about who or what could shut them down if a private school buys or rents a building less than a 1,000 feet away. He urged the councilors to keep that in mind. Other councilors mentioned that the city would have the option of shortening the 1,000 foot minimum distance to 600 to 900 feet but ultimately they all agreed to ask city staff to mull it over and come up with some suggested regulations for the council to debate next meeting.
Community Development Director Derrick Tokos, along with Nebel and Rich mentioned that there are business people eyeing the January 1st opening day for applying for retail marijuana sales permits and they need to know what the rules are sufficiently ahead-of-time to make a decision whether to apply for a license. City Councilors referred the matter to staff for more study and a possible decision by the council on December 7th.
There’s a widely held belief that those already selling medical and, temporarily selling retail marijuana, will be asking the state to let them sell retail marijuana until the end of December of next year, after which many medical marijuana businesses are expected to switch over 100% to retail sales. The state has strongly indicated they won’t let medical marijuana outlets continue to sell retail marijuana after December 31st of next year. The dual-sales arrangement – outlets selling medical and retail marijuana through the end of next year – is to give the OLCC time to review applications for retail-only sales outlets and finalize regulations for retail marijuana sales. The OLCC allowed the dual-sales program as a way to limit black market sales until the OLCC finalizes regulations on retail sales which may not be final until sometime next year.
In other council action, they decided not to increase city parks and recreation fees until at least next July. The reason for the postponement is to acknowledge the irritation of noise and clutter next door to the recreation center from the construction of the new aquatic facility.
And the council reminded citizens, especially those who live or own a business in Nye Beach, that the council will be holding a special town hall meeting November 30th (the infamous 5th Monday of the month) to address concerns and opportunities for that unique part of Newport. The council reminded citizens to bring their ideas and questions about the future of Nye Beach to the meeting. Comments and/or questions can be offered verbally or in written form.