Two of Central Oregon’s smallest cities, Sisters and Culver, are asking voters to reconsider their ordinances governing marijuana. In Sisters, “yes” votes would both allow the sale of weed and impose a 3 percent tax on sales, while in Culver a “yes” vote would maintain a current ban on the drug.
We’re not aware of organized opposition to any of the three, and “yes” votes on all of them would be appropriate.
Other than being in Oregon, about the only thing the two communities have in common is that they’re small. According to a July 2017 U.S. Census estimate, Culver’s population is about 1,500, while Sisters’ is about 2,700.
Culver is a farming community 2 miles west of U.S. Highway 97 and nine miles south of Madras. It does see its share of tourists — Cove Palisades Park and Lake Billy Chinook are only about 10 minutes away — but major businesses include ranches and their suppliers and water bottler EartH2O.
The city’s Ballot Measure 16-90 would, if approved, continue the existing prohibition on both recreational and medical marijuana.
Sisters is all about visitors, from its Western-themed downtown to its annual quilt show and rodeo, each of which draws thousands of guests. Community leaders continue to work to grow the community’s nonrecreational economy. Residents will vote on two measures, 9-122, which would allow the sale of both medical and recreational marijuana, and Measure 9-123, which would tax those sales at the maximum allowable 3 percent.
Voters in such diverse communities may well come up with different answers to the marijuana question. Sisters voted to legalize marijuana in 2014; Culver residents did not, and sentiments may not have changed in either. That’s OK. Local communities should be able to decide their own fates on such matters rather than being forced to accept an outcome dictated by those who live elsewhere.