Indy council to rework pot law

INDEPENDENCE — The public comment section of the Independence City Council meeting on Aug. 8 began with a comment from Alex Andrade, owner of Blackbird Indica, asking the council to reconsider the licensing process for marijuana businesses in Independence.

The ordinance currently requires those applying for a license to operate a marijuana business within city limits to provide the city manager with various pieces of information about their business, as well as the business owners and employees.

This includes “a complete copy of both a nationwide criminal history report acceptable to the City Manager, and an Oregon State Police Open Records criminal history report, both issued in the last 30 days,” as described in Section 8-434(1)(g) of Ordinance No. 1555.

This information must also be provided to the state when applying for a license from the OLCC, which is what Andrade took issue with when speaking to the council.

According to Andrade, it costs thousands of dollars to have this information processed, a serious cost to businesses that she believes the council did not consider when passing the ordinance in December.

“It just seems like nobody is doing their job when they … look into what we already have to do and what we’re required to do, and how secure that information is already held,” said Andrade.

Andrade explained that this information is required by the state to ensure that business investors aren’t part of crime organizations, such as drug cartels, and that the businesses are not employing felons, particularly those with drug-related charges.

After Andrade answered a number of clarifying questions from council members, the council agreed to reconsider the ordinance.

The council did not specify when they would rework the ordinance and did not hold an executive session following the meeting.

The next Independence City Council meeting will be on Aug. 29 because of the high traffic expected in the wake of the eclipse.

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