PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville City Councilors voted again Tuesday on whether to tighten restrictions on recreational marijuana. Planning Director Phil Stenbeck says the Council was tied in a similar vote, last August. "The City Council met previously on this and voted - on that particular night there were only six of the Councilors in attendance. It was the Mayor and five Councilors, so there were a total of six votes; whereas, we have a seven-person Council." Last night's first reading of the ordinance passed 4-to-3.
Stenbeck says the new ordinance provides some clarity on how possible changes at the federal level could impact the city. Current rules would allow recreational marijuana businesses if the drug is legalized at the federal level, which he says led to more questions. "The whole idea of what that means: 'legal' or not - was it Schedule I? Was it Schedule II? And the DEA's way of looking at it wasn't clearly defined, so you had some staff thinking it meant one thing, and some staff thinking it's another. So, we asked the City Council 'what did you mean by that?' And, we found they kind of also had varied opinions on that particular subject." The new ordinance would mean recreational pot businesses would only be allowed in the city if marijuana is completely removed from all DEA drug listings, which is stricter than previous city rules.
Stenbeck tells KBND News feedback from public meetings and recent surveys is clear. "When the survey came back, it was about 70% in opposition. You have 4,000-4,100 homes, plus or minus, in Prineville, and you had about 550 surveys sent back in. And, of those 550, about 70% were in opposition of recreational marijuana."
There is currently one medical marijuana dispensary in Prineville. The owner of Plantae Health has expressed an interest in selling recreational pot. However, the city's restrictions make that difficult.