Shady Cove to vote on cannabis sales and sewer service

    File photo of downtown Shady Cove.

    SHADY COVE — A pair of measures on the ballot in Shady Cove could mean changes for residents when it comes to recreational marijuana sales and how the city’s sewer services are provided.

    Voters banned the sale of recreational marijuana in November 2016 by a two-vote margin; 794 in favor of upholding a city ordinance banning recreational sales and 792 opposed.

    Changes to Oregon marijuana laws prompted city officials to decide earlier this year to take the matter to voters once again.

    Mayor Tom Sanderson said the city’s only dispensary, La Mota, was limited to selling only medical cannabis, which hindered business.

    Calls to La Mota for comment were not returned this week.

    Sanderson said a dwindling amount of controversy over dispensaries might have changed some voters’ minds on what should be permitted.

    “The marijuana thing has come up numerous times and was voted down by such a small number of votes last time, people thought it was awfully close, so we should probably put it back up again to go on the ballot,” Sanderson said.

    “Presently we only have the one dispensary in Shady Cove, and they’re presently closed. Most dispensaries can’t make money on just medical, they need both recreational and medical. Jackson County and Shady Cove are strong marijuana-growing areas. The soil is very good, so it’s a desirable place to grow it. I believe it’s up to our citizens to make that decision.”

    Voters will also decide whether to outsource sewer services to Rogue Valley Sewer Services instead of the city providing the service itself.

    Sanderson, who will not seek re-election Tuesday, said a recent open house was attended by 50 to 60 residents who were able to ask questions about the potential change.

    “We have a lot of people who think our biggest asset is our sewer system. I don’t know how anybody can say it’s our biggest asset. It’s actually our biggest liability, with $6 million to $7 million in loans and still over a half million in debt,” said the mayor.

    “When you get to the bottom line, good sewer is important, and RVSS is considered one of best providers in the state.”

    Sanderson said initial discussions involve a discount for senior citizens and an overall reduction in cost to the city.

    “It would go down because we would have a reduction in labor, material and overall taking care of the plant,” he said.

    “It just makes sense to me. We’ll see what the voters think.”

    Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at

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