By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Marijuana stories populate the news

Who would have thought, a few short years ago, that marijuana would become one of the most prominent 2016 story topics in the News-Register?

After Oregonians voted in 2014 to legalize recreational marijuana, the land rush began. Prospective pot shop operators scrutinized city maps to find properly zoned locations at least 1,000 feet from schools and other marijuana stores, and that process has produced plenty of controversy.

Linfield College did all it could to stop the location of a recreational marijuana shop at the college’s main highway entrance. At the time, I thought a campaign to limit the site to a medical marijuana dispensary might have been won, since the owners claimed no interest in recreational cannabis sales.

That stance changed soon after city approval of the site when The Green Heart Oregon added recreation sales, which didn’t end the controversy over that venture. Stories of non-payment to vendors have been circulating for months, surfacing publicly this month with a $35,000 lawsuit filed against the company by A & E Security and Electronic Solutions.

Numerous other pot-shop-location battles have unfolded before the City Council, and now, Yamhill County commissioners will hear an appeal about locating a marijuana shop at a busy Highway 18 intersection south of McMinnville.

One of the more interesting issues arose last month when a marijuana grower appealed to the City Council to stop development of a nearby housing subdivision, saying runoff would flood the pot farming operation. As Councilor Kellie Menke said before the council declined that appeal, “It’s not up to the city to inhibit growth within its legal boundary to protect them.”

Of course, not all local marijuana stories are related to zoning ordinances and licensing regulations.

Just this summer, a local woman was indicted for providing marijuana-laced brownies to two unknowing teenage girls; another woman was sentenced to nine months in jail for a high-speed police chase through three cities and two counties after she had smoked PCP-laced marijuana; and a huge illegal marijuana operation south of Dayton was raided by local and federal agents, who seized an estimated 6,500 plants.

Shortly after that bust, the participating Yamhill County Interagency Narcotics Team was put on hiatus due to budgetary concerns.

It’s all part of the growing pains for legalized marijuana. And also this summer, the federal government concluded that “marijuana has no accepted medical use, and should continue to be classified as a Schedule I drug.”

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

Comments

Don Dix

From the last paragraph -- the federal government concluded that “marijuana has no accepted medical use, and should continue to be classified as a Schedule I drug.”

That means the feds do not 'accept' all the evidence to the contrary. Not when the 'cash cow' that is marijuana busts and property seizure is an untouchable maneuver -- not to mention quite profitable!

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