Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Tue, March 18 2014 at 4:21 PM, Updated: Wed, March 19 2014 at 12:16 AM
Klamath Falls, Ore. -- The city of Klamath Falls gives a cautious 'green light' to medical marijuana dispensaries...but the Klamath County commissioners are taking an even more cautious approach.
The debate before the Klamath Falls City Council Monday night on medical marijuana dispensaries was open, and spirited at times...
"This isn't about legalization." Noted Klamath Falls attorney Phil Studenberg. "It's not about giving it to kids. It's already here, the people of Oregon have approved it."
Debbie Vought of Citizens for Safe Schools urged caution...
"I'm urging you to take every opportunity to delay a decision on this issue."
"We can delay it a year." Countered council member Dan Tofell. "But we're going to be right back here in a year and be looking at the same choices."
In the end, council voted 3 to 2 in favor of allowing dispensaries...with a few strings attached.
Conditions will include expanded buffer zones around places kids frequent...bans on mobile facilities...and not allowing the use of marijuana at the dispensaries.
"And if there's any kind of a problem with this, there's going to be a reconsideration of what was passed last night." Warned city council member Bill Adams.
The debate continued before the Klamath County Commissioners Tuesday morning.
Carol Eberlein: "I think we need the leadership to stand up against something that will take our county down."
Dispensary applicant Edward Medina, Jr.: "How many chronically and terminally ill patients are we going to allow to suffer while we play politics with this?"
Commissioner Jim Bellet notes that the board hasn't set a date yet on adopting regulations for the county...
"I like the idea of maybe a committee for maybe the next year, see how things are going."
But the county has said they want to keep their policy in concert with the city's.
There are currently about 950 medical marijuana card holders in Klamath County.
The city has issued a business license to one dispensary applicant.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.