Today I got an email message from a friend who'd been contacted by someone who thought I had my facts wrong about early sales of recreational marijuana in Salem, and Oregon as a whole.
That "someone" (I don't know who it was) wrote to my friend:
I think he got the dates wrong for the early sales of pot. Legal sales from rec dispensaries can begin on Jan 4 2016 if i am not mistaken... meaning that early sales (from medical dispensaries) would go from Oct 1 to Jan 4. Brian would have you believe from his blog, that the City Council's action would ban recreational pot from Oct 1 2015 to December 31 2016, if I read his blog right. He claimed that by neglecting to put the year on the agenda item that they were trying to ban rec pot sales to the end of 2016.
This is wrong, largely. I responded with the correct facts.
Glad to reply to the person who has questions.
Under the early sales law, anyone 21 and older may purchase marijuana from a dispensary starting Oct. 1. Meanwhile, the liquor control commission isn't expected to launch regulated recreational sales until late next year. How do early sales impact the liquor control commission's work?
Patridge: We are going to get a lot of questions related to, 'What does this really mean?' and 'What is going on?' But the OLCC is not the enforcement arm for that particular piece.
Does it complicate next year's rollout of recreational sales under the OLCC?
Patridge: I think it could get awkward toward the end of 2016 because we will be putting up stores at the end of 2016. There could be some overlap and some market confusion.
Since the City of Salem staff report erroneously said on the first page that the early sales program ends on December 31, 2015 rather than the date it actually ends, December 31, 2016, I can see why some people would think that "late" recreational sales in Salem could begin in January 2016.
But this isn't true.
It's unfortunate that the error was in the staff report. I pointed it out to the City Attorney and other city officials last Friday morning, as soon as I noticed it. As I said in my testimony at Monday's city council meeting, I sort of expected a "thank you" from City staff. But so far, that hasn't happened.
This is a big shortcoming of the top officials who run the City of Salem these days. Everybody makes mistakes. I sure do. Frequently.
What's important is that when a mistake/error is pointed out to us, we take a close look at what the other person is saying and consider whether we could be wrong. I've found that City of Salem officials are extremely reluctant to admit when they are wrong.