The Waldport City Council decided Thursday that they are favorably disposed to allowing medical marijuana stores inside the city limits of Walport. One councilor lamented that it seems cruel that a city council would stand in the way of someone who finds relief from an ailment by using marijuana. He also added that it’s a long way from allowing prescription marijuana for specific ailments to widespread unregulated marijuana use. Others nervously also indicated that it appears that a state wide recreational marijuana initiative is likely to pass this November.
The council directed City Manager Kerry Kemp to draw up regulations as provided in state law to establish where medical marijuana should be sold, how it should be sold and any other restrictions outlined by the council.
In short, no moratorium on the establishment of medical marijuana outlets within the city limits of Waldport.
Kemp said he would have a series of proposed regulations ready for council review before their next council meeting.
Some members of the council showed interest in taxing medical marijuana sales within the city limits.
Meanwhile all areas of Lincoln County not inside city limits still have a county commission-imposed moratorium on marijuana dispensaries. Under state law just passed, any Oregon city or county may enact, no later than this coming May 1st, a moratorium up to and including May 1st of next year in order to set up regulations as to where medical marijuana can be sold and under what conditions. State law, as it’s presently constructed, makes no provision for any locally imposed moratorium to remain in effect past May 1st of next year. State law also has basic restrictions in place that specify no medical marijuana dispensary may be located within 1,000 feet of a public or private school attended primarily by minors and may not be located within 1,000 feet of another medical marijuana dispensary. A thousand feet is a little farther than three lengths of a football field.
Some Oregon cities like Medford and Grants Pass have indicated that as long as marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law they will not allow its sale within their city limits. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says federal law enforcement will not intervene in medical marijuana sales as long as there are no criminal elements involved in the growing, delivery or sales of the plant. Taking it a step further the states of Washington and Colorado have legalized recreational sales of marijuana – Colorado reporting taxes on its sale are bringing in millions of dollars a month.
On another front, marijuana industry lobbyists are descending on Congress to normalize marijuana business access to regular banking services so they can get off their cash-only status. Federal laws prohibit banks from dealing with any illicit drug sales operation. Marijuana vendors also do not enjoy the same tax deductions and credits as other legitimate businesses benefit from which makes it harder for plant vendors to hired staff and grow their business.