Lincoln County Commissioners throw a “Hail Mary” in lieu of Legislative decision on Medical Marijuana rules and regs.
The Lincoln County Commission Wednesday threw what amounts to a “Hail Mary” desperation pass down field hoping to buy itself some time until the state legislature manages to come up with additional rules on how medical marijuana dispensaries are approved and run. Or if they don’t.
Under new state laws and regulations passed last year (and taking effect March 1st), medical marijuana dispensaries fall solely under state control – that is, where the dispensaries are allowed to locate, how the dispensaries are run and penalties for violations. But a number of state lawmakers, not satisfied to give the state such sweeping powers, introduced a bill during the current special legislative session to give local cities and counties local control, even to the extent of banning dispensaries altogether as Medford and Grants Pass want to do.
The version of the bill (SB 1531) that came out of the Senate gives some regulatory powers to cities and counties but does not allow them to outright prohibit dispensaries. But again, the House version disagrees and so the battle continues.
Back to the Lincoln County Commission.
County Counsel Wayne Belmont urged the commissioners to pass (and they did pass) a temporary county-based emergency law that prohibits the awarding of any dispensary licenses until things clear up. If the legislature authorizes local control on how the dispensaries are run, Lincoln County would keep the temporary moratorium in effect until as late as December 31st to get its local regulations created and on the books. If the current legislature adjourns in the first week of March without resolving the local control issue, the state law that passed last year, and takes effect March 1st, will prevail At that point, County Counsel Wayne Belmont says the county will remove it’s temporary moratorium on awarding medical marijuana dispensaries and allow them to proceed based on the new state regulations.
Belmont says there are three pending medical marijuana dispensary applications to be filed March 3rd. One in north Lincoln County, one south of Waldport and another in the east county area.