Council moves to ensure city gets pot fines

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home City Council will likely give final consideration, at its Jan. 12 meeting, to an ordinance that would make possession of less than an ounce of marijuana a violation of city ordinance.

The council held held the first and second readings of the ordinance on Dec. 13. Similar ordinances have been passed by other cities, including Lebanon, said City Attorney Robert Snyder.

Doing so sets up the charge as a violation of municipal ordinances instead of state statutes, which will allow the city to keep the fine, usually $500, and pay an assessment to the state, $60, like other charges, Snyder said. Right now, the $500 goes directly to the state.

“This is a procedure to try to make it more, we believe, more equitable to the city,” Snyder said.

The ordinance allows a fine of $500 to $1,000. First-time offenders may be allowed to take diversion, and the court may suspend licenses after conviction.

The council held the first and second reading of the ordinance. It will hold its third reading of the ordinance on Jan. 12. Following the third reading of an ordinance, the council may vote to adopt the ordinance. It takes effect 30 days later.

Present at the meeting were councilors Marybeth Angulo, Greg Mahler, Jim Gourley, Mayor Craig Fentiman, Scott McKee Jr. and Mike Hall. Ron Rodgers was absent.

In other business, the council:

n Reappointed Katie Kohl and Lena Tucker to new four-year terms on the Tree Commission.

n Reappointed Al Culver and Greg Stephens to new four-year terms on the Planning Commission.

n Held the second reading of an ordinance renewing the franchise agreement with Sweet Home Sanitation. The new franchise agreement, if approved, will include a rate increase. The third reading of the ordinance will be on Jan. 12.