Ontario City Hall

This photo shows the Ontario City Hall.

ONTARIO — It is now official: The City Council voted to do away with the additional $220 application fee for employees of retail marijuana shops.

The Ontario City Council approved the second and final reading of Ordinance No. 2765-2019. The amendment alters the original language of the code, lifting the fee for annual background checks

on employees done by the city.

The state of Oregon does background checks on those employees which is good for five years and the city opted to get rid of the fees after hearing much opposition about the extra compliance.

In addition, a recommendation from the city’s marijuana ad hoc committee, chaired by HotBox Farms co-owner Steven Meland, was shared with the council on Oct. 4 to remove the fee.

At Thursday night’s work session, both City Attorney Larry Sullivan and City Manager Adam Brown clarified that while the original language has been amended, dispensaries that were in operation prior to the amendment taking effect are still under legal obligation to pay those employee fees.

Brown said that of the three dispensaries operating in the city, so far only two have complied with the city’s fee requirement. The third, which Brown declined to identify by name, has yet to respond to request for payment.

However, Community Economic Development Director Dan Cummings, in a phone interview in mid-October, stated that Weedology had submitted 23 applications which were all approved and issued city permits. He said that he believed background checks were going through for employees of Burnt River Farms at that time, and that Hotbox Farms had only submitted a list of employees, but not paid for them yet.

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