The Albany Planning Commission voted unanimously Monday to recommend denial of a proposed amendment to the Albany Development Code regarding land use activity related to controlled substances.

The proposed amendment arose from a new Oregon law that allows prospective medical marijuana dispensary operators to begin applying for state sanctioning March 3.

Albany Alternative Health Solutions plans to be one of the dispensary applicants, and the City Council had directed staff to draft a Development Code amendment that would prevent such dispensaries from operating in Albany.

The recommendation goes to the City Council, which is scheduled to consider the same amendment at a public hearing at 7:15 p.m. Feb. 26.  The Planning Commission has left the record open for written comments until that council meeting.

The proposed amendment is language to clarify existing language in the Development Code.  It is not a proposed ban on medical marijuana facilities but rather addresses controlled substances: “No parcel of land or structure may be used for, or in conjunction with, an activity that violates any state or federal law prohibiting the manufacture, distribution, dispensation, or possession of any controlled substance” as that term is defined by the United States Code.

Medical marijuana is allowed by Oregon law but remains illegal under federal law.

The Planning Commissioners did not comment on their decision. Twenty-one people testified in opposition to the new language,  and three testified in favor, including Linn County District Attorney Doug Marteeny.

City councilors Rich Kellum, Ray Kopczynski, Dick Olsen and Floyd Collins attended the meeting along with about 70 others in a standing-room only crowd.

(10) comments

Impacts of Marijuana
Impacts of Marijuana

All we have to do is look at what is happening in California, Colorado, and Washington to see that marijuana brings many impacts to the Safety of our communities.

Oregon said no twice to pot storefronts, and again said No to pot legalization in November of 2012.

As District Attorney Jackie Lacey from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office in California noted in a letter to Governor Kitzhaber regarding HB3460: “Although regulating marijuana activities in your state maybe a noble endeavor, legalization marijuana sales through the storefront model is not the answer. We know this first-hand. Our empirical evidence proves that storefront pots shops are merely fronts for drug dealing.Drugs, money and crime are inextricably linked. Directly tied to the influx of storefront pot shops is the increase in crime and drug abuse. We are also experiencing an increase in illegal commercial warehouse grow operations, mobile delivery services and injuries and property damage caused by explosions from the volatile THC chemical extraction labs operated by “patients.”

In Colorado, regulation and enforcement of marijuana dispensaries cost the Denver Police Department approximately $640,000. This number did not reflect Patrol involvement, Public Nuisance Abatement involvement, civilian employee involvement, such as the crime lab testing and complaint database maintenance or other agency involvement such as the City Attorney’s Office which has had to devote staff specific to medical marijuana issues; also Zoning, DFD, NIS, Environmental Health, Building Inspection, E&L, etc. who all have some involvement

There is no such thing as safe and regulated pot when it is still a federally illegal drug.

Below is just one example of the impacts Oregon's marijuana program has had on our communities.

Thank you planning commission for changing language in your Codes.

Greg Bechtel
Greg Bechtel

Different day, different article, same regurgitated and easily disproved drivel from someone so confident on their position, they post under a screen name.

My name is Greg Bechtel. I ingest marijuana regularly and, like the 70+ people that came out last night to support other OMMP patients, will continue to attempt to educate people on the health benefits of marijuana. To those who read "Impact of Marijuana" and think it has any bearing on truth, this response is for you, since "Impact of Marijuana" is clearly just a shill.

"Impacts of Marijuana" continues to reference articles of people VIOLATING THE LAW, not OMMP patients. Allow me to quote the article for you:
" Ten pounds of pot, $18,000 and a gun. That's what West Linn police seized in a bust involving several West Linn High School students after a six-week long drug trafficking investigation. Investigators arrested three men who they say supplied pot or were involved in supplying it to current or former West Linn High School students."

So where is the dispensary in this story? Where are the OMMP patients? The men arrested were drug dealers, selling drugs to minors. You swap out marijuana in the story for oxycodone, Ritalin, Methadone, or any of the other "legal" drugs and the guy still goes to jail. There are strict rules in place for all controlled substances, and when people violate those rules, they go to jail.

This discussion is not about people who will break the law, regardless of the tool they use. This discussion is about hurting the people who won't break the law, simply because some people do.

If the goal is to prohibit controlled substances that get abused, then pain-suppression pharmaceuticals, ALL OF THEM, would be illegal since they are heavily abused in the Willamette valley. We rank among the top in the country for prescription drug abuse in this area, yet I don't see "Impacts of Pharma" posting ridiculous stories of people being arrested for selling pharma to minors. Think it doesn't happen? HA! The real world escapes you, sir.

In closing, I, too, have links. Mine are actual science though, so "Impacts of Marijuana", you can skip right over them. Anyone else that wants to learn more, feel free to click away.

ORS 475.300-346 (Oregon Medical Marijuana Act):

History of Cannabis in Oregon:

Dispensaries and Crime Data:

Cannabinoid Receptors in the Brain:

Marijuana kills cancer:

Marijuana lowers suicide rates:

Marijuana stimulates neurogenesis:

Federal Government’s Patent on the use of medical marijuana:

Controlled Substances Act Information:

chas holman
chas holman

Since January 1, the State of Colorado has sold over a million dollars of marijuana a day legally and in less than one month have already pumped nearly 9 million dollars into their school system from the exorbitant tax revenue collected. By the beginning of next fiscal calendar Colorado will have THE best funded schools in the nation, PERIOD.


The planning commissioners will ultimately fail at stopping this.

Ray Kopczynski
Ray Kopczynski

What is "this" to which you refer?
The proposed land use code change? The palnning commission stopped that last night and kicked it back to the city council.
Dispensaries? They also stopped the procedure to ban them until/if/when the city council weighs in again.

Ray Kopczynski
Ray Kopczynski

planning vs. palnning...

Greg Bechtel
Greg Bechtel

When is the palnning commission meeting? I went to the planning one, but I don't see palnning on the agenda. :D

Just kidding, Ray. So, for everyone's clarification, the City Planning Commission essentially looked at the proposal by city staff workers submitted, at City Council's request (4-2 vote), to them and said "Bad idea". Unfortunately, this was just a recommendation to City Council to not push this through. The end result still lies at the feet of those who started this process from the start.

We know Bessie Johnson is unwavering in her uneducated disdain for dispensaries and Rich Kellum is just a blowhard closet federalist who hates the military or local populaces thinking for themselves, so it falls to Floyd Collins, Ray Coburn, Ray Kop.. Kopc... Ray, and Mr. Olsen.

Mr. Olsen and Ray have already loudly voiced their disapproval of this robbery of the rights of patients under the guise of "community safety", and Mr. Coburn seems very much a rational minded fellow who sees this as a phenomenal waste of city resources. This leaves Mr. Collins.

Technically speaking, any of the original four (Collins, Coburn, Johnson, and "BA Baracus" Kellum - who says OMMP patients should "just deal with" their pain) could make a motion during counselor comments at ANY meeting from now until February 26th to stop this process and save the city time and money.

What would happen, if my research on procedure is correct, one of the original four could say they've had a change of heart and would like to make a motion to stop the process. If I'm not mistaken, this would prompt a vote from the council to either continue with the process or stop it and leave existing language as is.

The question is, will someone stand up and voice their concern that this language simply goes too far?

Greg Bechtel
Greg Bechtel

I hope not. I'm fairly confident that Mr. Collins, after having been to the meeting last night, will come around and change his original vote.

If banning dispensaries is the goal, there are more ways to skin this cat. Bringing out the chainsaw was the absolute worst strategy and the people of Albany spoke last night through a megaphone that they won't stand for this.

What we need to do now is get as many, or more, folks to come to the city council meeting on February 26th, at 7pm, to make our voices heard just as loud, just as clear, and just as angry. Next time, though, I think we, the peanut gallery, should adhere a little closer to chamber policies on outbursts, because the usual suspects will be there with their Reefer Madness dog and pony show. We must always show respect, even to those who show us none. Mama always said kill em with kindness. :)

Impacts of Marijuana
Impacts of Marijuana

I think the planning commissioners will not fail and that the Council will make the right decision for public safety sake. Law Enforcement as well in Albany will make known the truth about the dangers of these types of facilities.

Oregon like California Supreme Court will rule that Cities and Counties have the right to ban pot stores. . The majority of Oregon voters have said NO twice and they meant NO. As well the Washington State AG's opinion is that cities and counties have the right to ban pot stores.

Washington State Office of the Attorney General formal opinion on marijuana business

Many cities and counties in Oregon have already successfully banned them.

Washington County Law Enforcement as well has publically announced the problems that are associated with illegal pot stores.

Law Enforcement Council of Washington County
WC LEC Adoption 01-09-14


It is the position of the Washington County Law Enforcement Council (LEC) to oppose the establishment of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries within the city and county limits of Washington County. The possession, distribution, and manufacture of marijuana, although permissible under provisions of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) and related statutes and rules, are a violation of Federal Law.

While the member agencies of LEC will consistently and fairly enforce established laws and ordinances of our communities, we believe the proliferation of marijuana use and availability outside the scope of the OMMP is a serious public health concern and has negative implications for the welfare of our community. We believe expanding the availability of marijuana, even under the auspices of the OMMP, will harm the general welfare of our community because of the significant potential to increase marijuana use among our youth, place a higher burden on emergency room care, drug treatment and other health care systems, increase marijuana-related exposure cases, and increase illegal interstate drug trafficking. Marijuana impairment doubles the risk of deadly traffic crashes and is a major causal factor in high school dropouts.

We believe medical marijuana dispensaries will have additional potential negative secondary effects on the community. These secondary effects include, but are not limited to the following: criminal activity, loitering, increased traffic, noise, litter, and a loss of trade for other businesses located nearby by interference. Local government control of land use and organized development helps promote local community values.

The member agencies of LEC have an ethical duty and statutory obligation to ensure the safety of our communities. Medical marijuana dispensaries are harmful to the surrounding community and its residents and constitute a public nuisance contrary to our community values which support Washington County as a safe place to live, work, and raise a family.

• Chief Geoff Spalding Beaverton PD
• Chief Ken Summers Cornelius PD
• Chief Janie Schutz Forest Grove PD
• Deputy Chief Mark Bonnett Hillsboro PD
• Chief Charles Fessler King City PD
• Chief Bill Snyder North Plains PD
• Chief Jeff Groth Sherwood PD
• Chief Alan Orr Tigard PD
• Chief Kent Barker Tualatin PD
• Sheriff Pat Garrett WC Sheriff’s Office
• District Attorney Robert Hermann WC District Attorney’s Office


There is written documentation that Greg Bechtel had to convince himself patients were with it to start this business. There is written documentation by Greg Bechtel that indicates he started a dispensary with hopes of making money, not helping patients. That is not who we should have running our local dispensaries. Greg wrote this letter up outlining these startling facts himself.

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