CANNON BEACH — The city of Cannon Beach remains undecided whether to give voters the chance to opt out of marijuana sales, or go ahead and start writing up an ordinance regulating dispensaries. Tuesday night the council discussed leaving it up to the voters, like neighboring Manzanita is doing, or going ahead and preparing time, place and manner restrictions. No decisions were made.
Meanwhile, Manzanita’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors over Labor Day weekend.
“It’s been a long sprint to get here,” said Oregon Coast Cannabis owner Andrew Buck. “It’s almost surreal in a way that we were able to get construction done and pull this vision together.”
Buck said he and his partners had discussed opening a dispensary “for some time.” They started as growers and transitioned when the time was right.
Oregon Coast Cannabis first went for a business license in March, but was delayed by a city moratorium. In August, La Mota in Rockaway Beach became the first dispensary to open in Tillamook County.
In July, the Manzanita City Council rescinded that moratorium. Oregon Coast Cannabis started remodeling the building the next month.
But the council also voted in August to let voters decide in the November 2016 election whether all marijuana sales and processing businesses within city limits will be prohibited, according to Ordinance 15-05.
Oregon Coast Cannabis would be grandfathered in either way.
“The community as a whole has been supportive,” Buck said. The business received letters of support during its talks with the City Council.
Buck added that medical marijuana cardholders have been especially supportive as they no longer have to drive elsewhere for their medicine. He said he has had cardholders come in from Tillamook and Clatsop counties, along with vacationers.
In Cannon Beach a ‘highly contested’ decision
Cannon Beach prohibits marijuana dispensaries as it requires businesses to abide by local, state and federal laws. Medical and recreational marijuana are now legal in Oregon, but still considered a controlled substance by the federal government.
During a Cannon Beach City Council work session Tuesday evening, council members discussed possible changes as other municipalities have been sued over similar ordinances.
“It’s just going to be more highly contested,” city attorney Tammy Herdener said.
Cannon Beach’s medical marijuana cardholders have dispensaries like Oregon Coast Cannabis, Highway 420 in Seaside and dispensaries in Astoria to choose from in the meantime.
From medical to recreational
Buck said he has also had inquiries about recreational marijuana. Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill allowing medical dispensaries to start selling recreational marijuana on Oct. 1, which Oregon Coast Cannabis will likely do.
“We’ve put a lot into it energy-wise and financially,” Buck said, adding they want to do things by the book.
Oregon Coast Cannabis has a few products on the shelves, but is waiting for more to be tested and approved.
The dispensary is developing a menu of flower, tincture, transdermal patches and edibles.
“We want to have products available for all people, essentially,” Buck said. “Different price ranges, different qualities.”
He wants the store “to be warm and welcoming,” he said. The shop features a Pacific Northwest theme with local recycled materials, and will be using glass packaging to reduce plastic waste.
Partner Hannah Hayes said they plan to work with local growers and have helped some get licensed with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
“Our emphasis is definitely on the local, but we’re also trying to bring in some really cool Portland products that are already more established, that have been doing what they’re doing for awhile,” she said.
The dispensary, located at the former Great Northern Garlic Co. at 868 Laneda Ave., is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.