The Ashland City Council has given initial approval for lifting a moratorium on the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries in town.
On Tuesday night, councilors approved the first reading of an ordinance lifting the moratorium. A second reading is likely on Aug. 5.
The lifting of the moratorium would likely take effect 30 days later.
Councilors enacted a moratorium in April to give Ashland time to work out city regulations governing the location and operation of dispensaries.
On Tuesday, councilors decided against voting to finalize a marijuana tax and regulations governing dispensary operations because three members of the council were absent because of other obligations. The tax and regulatory issues will come back before the council Aug. 5.
Councilors previously gave preliminary approval for a tax of up to 5 percent on medical marijuana and a tax of up to 10 percent on recreational marijuana.
Oregon voters will decide in November whether to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.
So far, two medical marijuana dispensaries in Ashland have been issued provisional licenses from the state to open.
One dispensary planned on Williamson Way will probably not be able to open because councilors have given preliminary approval for a buffer zone between homes and dispensaries. That proposed dispensary is adjacent to houses.
Another dispensary on Clear Creek Drive could be allowed, although the dispensary operator would have to win a conditional use permit from the city — a process that typically takes at least 45 days.