Last week, an alarmed Portland father wrote City Commissioner Amanda Fritz to complain about a cannabis dispensary opening next door to his daughter’s private kindergarten. Fritz was not receptive.
In her Aug. 12 reply to Sellwood resident Gregory Hemmen, Fritz correctly notes that the shop’s plans are legal. But she goes further, comparing cannabis to alcohol and offering unsolicited parenting advice.
“Do you avoid taking your children to restaurants where alcohol is served?” Fritz asks. “Why do you consider cannabis more harmful than alcohol?
“Cannabis sales are legal in Oregon,” Fritz concludes. “If you don’t want your children to buy cannabis once they are of age to be carded and buy it, I recommend you take this opportunity to instill your values into your family while they still believe every word you say is true.”
Fritz’s email comes amid a flurry of opposition from parents in the Southeast Portland neighborhood of Sellwood. They object to Electric Lettuce, a chain of cannabis dispensaries that advertises with psychedelic neon designs, opening a new store on Southeast 13th Avenue next to a preschool and kindergarten.
Oregon law says those plans are fine. The state only bars cannabis shops from opening within 1,000 feet of “a public elementary or secondary school for which attendance is compulsory” or “a private or parochial elementary or secondary school” that teaches kindergarten through 12th grade.
It doesn’t mention preschools.
Electric Lettuce’s plans were first reported by WW’s news partner, KATU-TV. Since then, Sellwood residents have been grousing about the proposed dispensary’s proximity to the Creative Minds Learning Center and a toy store called Oodles for Kids.
An Oregon Liquor Control Commission spokesman