A Small Oregon Town Might Become The Model For The Rest Of The State
Something very alarming was brought to my attention yesterday. I was waiting for a few people to e-mail me some quotes before I posted this article, but it's so important that I just can't wait any longer. Essentially, the town of Carlton, Oregon is having it's second hearing today about a proposed ordinance that would create more regulations and hoops for medical marijuana growers to jump through in the town. A marijuana activist in Oregon told me in an e-mail that after speaking with the city attorney for Carlton, it is clear that this is intended as a model ordinance, and the desire is to replicate it in other communities.
The population of Carlton, Oregon is less than 2,000 people, and how many of them are growers in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) is unclear. I would imagine the town leaders have enjoyed the fact that there has been very little press about this. If the OMMP growers in Carlton are left to protest this by themselves, they will likely just get railroaded by the city, if they haven't been already. However, if tons of OMMP participants and sympathizers show up to today's meeting to show that we will not stand for this, we might be able to affect the process, even though it's kind of late in the game.
As I stated before, if this passes in Carlton, it will likely spread to other municipalities. So even if you don't live in Carlton, it will no doubt affect you. And even if it doesn't, it's time to stand with your OMMP family and fight for what's right. The 'issues' in Carlton are not representative of the rest of the state, yet we may be forced to live according to it's town leader's rules. I know I don't want to have extra hoops and regulations above and beyond the state, do you? Below are some excerpts from the only news article about this ordinance in bold, and my reaction below the excerpts in non-bold font:
""This is not to take away anyone's right," said Mayor Kathie Oriet. It is, she said, "designed to put security and safeguards on growers and make sure it's where kids can't get to it...Carlton's proposed ordinance - which city attorney Walt Gowell likened to electrical and plumbing codes - would spell out where and how approved growers could cultivate their crop. It would ensure that grow light installations weren't fire hazards, for instance, and would require plants to remain in a secure structure out of sight and reach of children."
Has there been an out break of burglaries at medical marijuana gardens in Carlton? Have kids been getting into medical marijuana gardens at alarming rates? Has there been a series of house fires in Carlton caused by grow light installations? Oregon state law already says that the garden can't be in a public place, so why the extra hoops? Why is the town of Carlton exploring a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, other than to pursue a backdoor way to shut down OMMP gardens?
"Last year, a local resident was growing medical marijuana in his yard, a council member said. Neighbors complained about the smell, as well as the potential for his plot to become an attractive nuisance. Under the ordinance, growers would need to register with the city. No fee would be assessed, but they would be subject to an on-site inspection by police or a building inspector. A public hearing is not required, City Manager Chad Olsen said, but "Given the nature of the ordinance, it's a good idea."
Is the smell of marijuana by itself a nuisance? If we outlawed everything that smelled bad to a minority of citizens, then we wouldn't have farms, plain and simple. Have you ever lived next to a dairy farm? Oh my. Why do 'concerned citizens' always point to something that could happen, but never has in the past, and act like doom is inevitable? A medical marijuana garden by itself is not a breeding ground for a nuisance, no more than a medicine cabinet is in everyone's home. It takes dumb people, which will be around regardless of an ordinance.
I guarantee teen prescription drug use has occurred in Carlton before, why are they not requiring everyone with a pain killer prescription to license themselves with the city first? It's a safety issue after all. This will put too much power in the hands of the few, and I guarantee law enforcement will make it nearly impossible to grow medical marijuana in city limits, at least to the extent the growers can now. They will say just about every garden, if not all, fail to meet city requirements. A city hearing isn't even required? Was the city of Carlton founded by communists? I thought we lived in a democracy?
"One section of the ordinance establishes requirements for rooms in which marijuana may be grown. "how is that protecting the grower?" one of the men asked. The mayor explained that the ordinance aims to encourage residents to maintain livable homes. If someone lived in a three-bedroom house, for instance, he could use one bedroom for a medical marijuana grow while maintaining the others as bedrooms. The man persisted, "What if I lived alone in a four bedroom house. Could I use three bedrooms to grow marijuana?""
If the mayor's goal is indeed to get people to 'maintain livable homes' than he must be going after the owners of every dilapidated property within city limits right?? Of course not. This is a classic example of one set of rules for medical marijuana, and one set of rules for everyone else. Medical marijuana opponents will always single out medical marijuana, even though there are no problems occurring, and turn a blind eye to areas that are obviously experiencing the purported problem that medical marijuana 'may cause.'
Telling someone that, despite state law, they are not allowed to do a perfectly legal activity in their home is ridiculous, and I can virtually guarantee it would not hold up against legal scrutiny. If the state law was silent on this issue, it would be one thing. However, Oregon law is very clear on the parameters that OMMP growers have to operate within, and adding more hoops is not right. The ACLU sent a letter to the city council, so hopefully they realize the dangerous precedent they are trying to set.
If you are in the area, PLEASE come to the hearing, which is at 7:00 p.m. Carlton City Hall, 191 East Main Street. There is always power in numbers, and this has the potential to affect us all. If we just allow this to happen, bad things will occur. However, if we stand up and fight, we will be heard and a positive result could occur. Below is information from the Carlton website, hope to see you there:
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that on Monday March 12at 7:00 p.m. Carlton City Hall, 191 East Main Street, the Carlton City Council will hold a public hearing regarding a proposed ordinance amending the Carlton Municipal Code to establish regulations and permit requirements relating to production of medical marijuana, adopting permit application criteria and procedures, providing for security and safety and establishing enforcement, violations and penalty provisions.
The State of Oregon allows for and regulates the legal production and cultivation of medical marijuana and cities may provide for additional local regulation concerning its production and cultivation to ensure that it is done in a manner that meets the health, safety and welfare of City residents and property owners.
Persons wishing to participate in the public hearing may appear in person or by representative at the dates and times listed above. Written comments may also be submitted by mailing information to 191 E. Main Street, Carlton, OR 97111. A copy of the draft ordinance is available for inspection at the City Hall located at 191 E. Main Street between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. For further information, please contact City Hall at (503) 852-7575.
Click below to view a draft of the proposed ordinance: