Lincoln City City Council goes with a moratorium on Medical Marijuana – wants time to look at zoning.
On a five to two vote, the Lincoln City City Council decided to slap a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries inside their city limits until they know what parts of town in which they could be set up. State law says they have a right to be established within three zones – commercial, industrial and mixed-use. Trouble is, Lincoln City has a number of hybrid zones that may or may not conform with those three. And so the council decided to kick the issue to their city planning commission and let them study it and then kick it back to the council with a recommendation – just like they would any other land use matter.
City Councilors Wes Ryan and Chester Noreikis voted against the ban, Ryan saying that it’s really about medicine that should be readily accessible for those who need it. However, the other five members of the council said that those who need their medicine can still get it from their regular suppliers under current state statutes. It was reasoned that a three to five month delay should not be a major inconvenience for medical marijuana card holders in order for the city to determine where the dispensaries should appropriately be located.
City Manager David Hawker commented that marijuana distribution may become far more common if Oregon voters approve recreational sales this November, mirroring the outcome in Washington state and Colorado. A number of other states also appear to have similar votes coming up shortly. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said often that federal authorities will not stop states from legalizing marijuana so long as the black market and criminal elements are not involved in the commerce.
Two Lincoln City residents testified that they have applied for a permit from the state and a business license from the city to establish medical marijuana outlets. Both said that state controls over placement of dispensaries are fine just the way they are – that they can’t be located within a thousand feet of any public or private school and not within a thousand feet of another dispensary. Griff Ford, who owns an herb shop in Nelscott, said that those restrictions severely limit the number of dispensaries. and that further delay is uncalled for. One applicant urged the council to closely examine what is making them so afraid that they would deny help to those who are ill.
The motion to enact the moratorium as an emergency measure was not passed by a unanimous vote, so the moratorium proposal comes back before the council on April 28th where it is likely to be formally approved by a similar margin.
Under state law, any moratorium takes effect May 1st and may remain in effect through May 1st of next year in order for cities and counties to establish rules and regulations on specific details on where dispensaries may locate, as long as they comply with state law, and hours and manner of operations which the state was a little less clear on.