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Lincoln County Commission sets med marijuana moratorium through May 1, 2015

Medical Marijuana moratorium for unincorporated areas of Lincoln County now runs through May 1 of next year.

Medical Marijuana moratorium for unincorporated areas of Lincoln County now runs through May 1 of next year. But it may fall sooner than that.

Saying they want to see how the whole marijuana issue plays out in Oregon, the Lincoln County lengthened their medical marijuana dispensary moratorium to May 1st of next year – this in an effort to see where things line up legally, as well as to give commissioners more time to develop useful regulations on where such dispensaries should be located and how they are operated. Capping the number of dispensaries might eventually become the law of the land, or maybe the Oregon Liquor Control Commission might get the green light to sell the plant.

Commissioners, meeting with Depoe Bay City Councilors, said the situation is very fluid in Oregon and that a lot could happen in the next year – with voters likely to pass a recreational marijuana ballot issue next November. Councilor Zeke Olsen and Mayor AJ Mattila both expressed strong interest in figuring out how medical marijuana, or even recreational marijuana, could be taxed for the city’s benefit. The town’s budget is sorely stretched trying to upgrade sewer and water lines as well as finishing the paving of local streets. There are Depoe Bay harbor improvements that are also coming up to maintain the harbor as the community’s primary economic engine.

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Thus far, the City Council has not proposed a moratorium. But if they decide to enact one they’d have to scramble fast to beat the May 1st deadline for notifying the state of their intent. Thus far, Clerk Recorder Pury Murray says no one has raised the issue with her but if someone on the council wants a moratorium, they better request it quickly. May 1st is coming up very fast.

Meanwhile, Lincoln County Counsel Wayne Belmont said that even though the county now has a moratorium on the pharmacies through May 1st, 2015, the moratorium could be lifted well before that, if the county comes up with operating regulations that commissioners can approve. County Commissioner Bill Hall said also that it might be a good idea to consider having an advisory ballot so local voters could weigh in on the debate.

So, everything up in the air in Depoe Bay, a little less so for those living in rural parts of the county. Local cities like Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Toldeo, Waldport and Yachats have not shown any tendency to enact a moratorium, but Newport and the county both have done so. May first is coming up fast.

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