Will pot shops prove to be economic boon for Ontario?

Steve Lyon
The first marijuana retail store
opened on Thursday in Ontario,
Ore., an event that was widely
covered by Boise media.
Members of the Ontario Chamber of
Commerce were there to cut the obligitory
ribbon and revel in the potential for
a lucrative industry. It was
the first retailer to open since
the local ban on weed sales
was voted down in 2018.
You’d think they were
there to celebrate the opening
of a burger joint or something,
rather than a pot shop
with a line out the door of
people seeking to spend
money to alter their reality.
With the opening of the pot retailer, 
and another 14 applications
from 10 operators
under review, the grand social
experiment in legalized
marijuana continues in Oregon.
Between taxing the pot sales and the
spending on gas and food that comes
with multitudes of people driving over
from Boise to buy it, there’s not doubt it
will be a boost to the Ontario economy.
Maybe this is the big turnaround that
Ontario has needed for the past few
years. Since the Great Recession, it’s
been hard times over there, resulting
in fewer dollars for local governments
and subsequent cuts to services. They
couldn’t even keep the golf course open.
The municipal coffers could fill again as
the pot business brings loads of cash.
Legal pot is probably not the latest indicator
of the Decline of Western Civilization,
but it’s not as innocuous
as the proponents of
pot shops would have you
believe. Ask any sociologist
or criminal justice professor.
It will have a measurable
social impact, just like gambling
and boozing.
As I drive Oregon Highway
201 between Weiser
and Ontario, I wonder if I’m
sharing the road with stoned
drivers. We’re all familiar
with the exhortation to not
drink and drive. It’s time to
add don’t smoke and drive.
It can be argued that legalizing pot and
regulating it out in the open is better than
the illicit selling and smoking of weed.
It takes the business away from the bad
guys, so to speak. Oregon licenses pot
farms and the sources of the product are
Law enforcement in Oregon can
spend time catching real crooks instead
of chasing harmless and usually hapless
stoners puffing on a doobie.
It’s a bit surprising to me how quickly
legal marijuana has moved into the
mainstream. You can even buy stock
in a dozen pot-growing companies that
are publicly traded on the stock market.
With Wall Street cashing in, there is no
turning back on the proliferation of pot. • • •
The month of July is just about over,
and a studious review of the National
Weather Service stats indicates it wasn’t
all that hot in Weiser.
I did find a couple of temperature
records of note for July that occurred
Death Valley lived up to its reputation
as the hottest place in the U.S. The
parched desert of horny toads set an interesting
record on July 23.
Follow along on this one. It cooled off
to 102 degrees for the nightly low, a new
high low record for the date.
A record set in July in Baker City
provided an interesting contrast in temperatures.
On July 22, according to the
NWS, the temperature dropped to 32 degrees,
the freezing mark. That is a chilly
night for July. The old record for the date
was 35 degrees set in 2013.
Steve Lyon is the editor of the Weiser
Signal American. Contact him at


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