Will Lincoln City fall in behind Newport and the Lincoln County Commission by enacting a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, it may be a close vote.
Councilors Gary Ellingson, Henry Quandt and Roger Sprague all expressed reservations about the state’s legalization of medical marijuana but acknowledged that the outlets for card carrying marijuana patients are coming. All three said that as long as the state was giving local cities and counties the power to enact a temporary moratorium, in order to develop location regulations on them, they strongly lean toward a moratorium. According to state law the moratorium must be enacted by May 1st and be terminated no later than May 1st of next year. The three councilors said they would also like to see how this whole “marijuana thing” shakes out – especially after this November when voters are expected to follow Colorado and Washington State in legalizing recreational marijuana.
However councilors Wes Ryan, Chester Noreikis, Gordon Eggleston and Mayor Dick Anderson were cool to the idea of a moratorium. Several of them, perhaps reading the political tea leaves of November, were curious about developing not only basic regulations about where, when and how such dispensaries (perhaps even recreational sales) are run, but also whether local cities and counties can tax the plant. Reports from Colorado indicate that the Mile High State taxes the plant and that state and local governments are raking in very substantial revenues from its sale. The council directed the city attorney to come back with more information on what might be gained from enacting a moratorium and whether that would make any sense knowing state law prevents local jurisdictions from outlawing medical marijuana sales past May 1st of next year.
As the council vote symbolically lined up Monday night, all voted for more information from the city attorney. But had it come down to a vote on a moratorium itself, it would have likely been 4 to 3 to not enact a ban.
Yachats, Waldport, Toledo, Depoe Bay and Siletz have thus far not voted for a moratorium. Toledo, like Lincoln City, has demonstrated an interest in possibly taxing the plant.