The Pendleton City Council has a recent tendency to end its year in a sticky situation.
Tuesday’s meeting will mark the third consecutive year the council will discuss an issue relating to marijuana. In December 2015, the council grappled with banning marijuana businesses before ultimately referring it to the ballot. In December 2016, the council created market regulations for cannabis businesses after a majority of voters lifted the ban on selling medical and recreational marijuana and imposing a local 3 percent tax.
The council will continue this unlikely yuletide tradition on Dec. 5, when members will consider an appeal to grant conditional approval for a proposed marijuana grow in the Riverside area.
One of the people behind the appeal is Brandon Krenzler, the co-owner of Kind Leaf Pendleton, the city’s first legal marijuana dispensary. Kind Leaf bought the former Riverside Nursery property with the intention of growing marijuana plants in the land’s greenhouses and selling them at the dispensary.
But when Krenzler went to the Pendleton Planning Commission to get approval for the grow on Aug. 14, the commission rejected his application on a 2-2 vote. In an interview after the meeting, Commissioner Terry Clarke said he voted against it because there’s was too much uncertainty surrounding Krenzler’s application.
Krenzler appealed the decision to the members of the city council, who will make their own choice.
In a letter to the council, Krenzler wrote that his current plan is to only use the current greenhouse facilities for growing. The greenhouses will be surrounded by 6- to 8-foot-tall fences and shrubbery.
Krenzler envisions the grow, which is called Burnswell Family Farms, as not only a business venture but an educational opportunity.
“Pendleton, Oregon has increased awareness of the cannabis industry with new businesses growing in our community, creating jobs as well as increasing general curiosity. Burnswell Family Farms intends on developing into an educational point of interest and will allow visitors to our community to view and learn about cultivation of craft cannabis in Eastern Oregon. Burnswell Family Farms will also offer education during the cultivation season to increase local awareness and foster understanding of our role as a growing business, an emerging industry, and as a good neighbor.”
According to a city staff report, the council can either uphold the commission’s decision, reverse it or send the case back the commission for further consideration.
The council will meet at 7 p.m. at the council chambers in city hall, 500 S.W. Dorion Ave.