Four days before medical marijuana dispensaries become legal under state law, city officials have fast-tracked an ordinance that would restrict where dispensaries can locate and what hours they can operate.
The Central Point City Council voted unanimously Thursday to keep dispensaries at least 500 feet from residential areas, limit their hours to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and keep them in certain commercial and industrial areas. The restrictions become effective immediately.
Dispensaries' business license applications require approval of neighboring businesses under the new ordinance.
"My preference is to ban them completely," said Mayor Hank Williams, but added the council should wait until the state decides whether local jurisdictions have the power to enact their own bans.
Council member Rick Samuelson voiced frustration that cities must deal with a contradiction between state and federal law, but said he felt the city handled the issue in the best way possible.
"It's a damn mess," Samuelson said. "The federal government won't enforce its own law and the state came in and wrote a law that ... essentially what they did to all the cities was hang them up like piÃ3/8atas. Anybody that wants to open a medical marijuana dispensary can do so and if you try to stop them they can sue you.
"We can't outright prohibit it yet, but we can put rules in place to control it."
In Phoenix, council members are poised to vote Monday on a four-month moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries and may take a look at an ordinance that would restrict or ban marijuana-related businesses. It is also set to consider zoning restrictions on grow sites.
— Buffy Pollock