Pot petition deadline nears in Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls, Ore. – The deadline to gather signatures to overturn a ban on recreational marijuana in Klamath Falls is quickly approaching.

It will take 1,783 valid signatures to put the question before city voters in November.

“They currently have 1,577 signatures.”  Notes Klamath County Clerk Rochelle Long.  “So they’re very close.”

“We did turn in a batch of 612 yesterday.”  Adds Co-Chief Petitioner and dispensary owner Ed Medina.  “We are expecting that to actually hit our number.”

Medina says backers began collecting signatures to allow recreational marijuana sales back in January.  “Officially, we’ve turned in 4,850 signatures so far.”

But the County Clerk explains that about two-thirds of those signatures can’t be counted.  “It’s usually because they don’t live in the city – that’s the major thing.”

An effort to overturn a county wide ban on recreational marijuana failed two years ago, but Medina is undaunted.  “We do know that in 2016 election, the majority of city voters did vote yes for recreational cannabis.”

Backers have until 5:pm Monday to file any last-minute signatures.

“Obviously, that’s just the first hurdle.”  Points out Medina.  “We do need to educate folks in the area, we have to get people to turn in their ballots to vote.”

If the ordinance is approved by voters, recreational sales could begin on February 1st of 2019.

The city could also be allowed to collect a 3% tax on marijuana sales.

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.

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