3 August 2016

WW write

“It’s not unusual to hear a Portland small-business owner griping about excessive red tape. And cannabis entrepreneurs, lawyers and activists have been grumbling for several months about onerous rules created and enforced by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.

But this time, most of the City Council seems to agree: Marijuana business regulation under Commissioner Amanda Fritz has gone too far.

A majority of the council appears poised to roll back some of the city’s year-old rules governing where and how dispensaries operate.

“We shouldn’t perpetuate fees and regulations simply to maintain a regulatory structure if the regulatory structure is unnecessary,” says Commissioner Steve Novick.

Novick and his colleagues are being urged on by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who in May complained to Mayor Charlie Hales and the rest of the City Council that Portland duplicates the state’s marijuana regulations, to the detriment of small-business owners.

Critics like Blumenauer note that an entrepreneur seeking a recreational license would pay twice as much in Portland as in other cities—because Portland charges $4,975 a year per license on top of the $4,750 that goes to the state.

And they say the Office of Neighborhood Involvement—Fritz’s domain since Hales dropped it in her lap in 2015—is the wrong place for fostering a burgeoning industry. (Fritz ran ONI from 2009 to 2013, when Hales took over for two years, before abruptly giving it back to Fritz.)”

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