All Politics is Local

Eileen Quiring wanted the county council to watch a video about teenagers smoking pot

As the Clark County Council moves forward with lifting the ban on recreational cannabis businesses in the unincorporated areas, council Chair Eileen Quiring has been concerned about the kids.

During a work session on the topic last month, Quiring, an opponent of lifting the ban, said she wanted to hear from representatives of the juvenile justice system before the council moved forward. That prompted an exchange with Councilors Julie Olson and Temple Lentz (both are interested in lifting the ban) who argued that the adverse effects of cannabis on youth have been established and that including juvenile justice in further discussions would be unnecessary.

Quiring shot back.

“You don’t want to make it part of the conversation because it’s a very negative part of the conversation,” said Quiring. “But I think we need to consider as we move forward.”

I had been wondering what the backstory was behind the exchange and what Quiring meant when she said that other councilors didn’t want to “make it part of the conversation.”

Records released by the county earlier this month seem to provide some explanation. Included in the released records was an email Quiring sent in late March to Sheriff Chuck Atkins, Undersheriff Mike Cooke and other officials asking them to watch a video made by filmmaker Ben Grayzel on cannabis use by teenagers at a Portland high school.

The roughly 15-minute documentary features lots of blurred faces of teenagers, lots of admission to of prolific pot use before and after school. (You can watch it here. It has some swears, drug references and stoned teenagers.) The documentary also features interviews with teachers and others who say that new means of ingesting cannabis (i.e. dabs) has made the drug more harmful while also making kids receptive to other substances.

But, in her email, Quiring wrote that her fellow councilors weren’t interested in including the documentary in the work session.

“I requested to include it in our work session, but 3 of the councilors voted it down – they said they would watch it, and include the link for the public, but didn’t want to have it introduced publically (sic) at the work session,” wrote Quiring.

Cooke was receptive. He wrote:

“I’m not sure why it wouldn’t be shown as this is the reality of marijuana usage. You can find an endless number of videos on Youtube, Facebook, etc which show this same culture and worse. The filmmaker did a good job at capturing the drug culture in a professional manner.”