Pubdate: Tue, 12 Apr 2016
Source: Mail Tribune, The (Medford, OR)
Copyright: 2016 The Mail Tribune
Note: Only prints LTEs from within it's circulation area, 200 word count limit

Since You Asked


I would like to know why Medford Councilor Clay Bearnson is allowed 
to vote on all the decisions regarding the marijuana issues in the 
city. He has openly stated he is an active participant in the growing 
of marijuana and has applied for a license to sell medical marijuana. 
Why is this not a conflict of interest? He should recuse himself on 
all marijuana issues.

- - A. Williams, Medford

We've been asked about this issue quite a bit over the past year. 
Bearnson has repeatedly said he plans to open a medical marijuana 
dispensary in the city, and he said recently that he plans to open 
the dispensary in downtown Medford sometime in April. He has also 
said he's checked with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission and 
has been told that he can still vote on matters related to marijuana.

However, Bearnson has also said he will stop voting on marijuana 
issues once he has a license to dispense marijuana. Other councilors 
have taken issue with him voting on this matter. However, it is not 
uncommon for public officials to disclose a possible conflict of 
interest and then state it will have no bearing on their impartiality 
when it comes to making a decision.

For instance, other councilors voted on the Travel Medford contract 
with the Medford/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce even though many 
of the councilors have been chamber members.

We've sat in on many council meetings and only rarely has someone 
brought up the issue of Bearnson voting on marijuana issues.

In any case, A. Williams, Bearnson won't be voting on marijuana if 
his dispensary opens.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom