On a 6 to 1 vote, the Depoe Bay City Council enacted a one year moratorium on the establishment of any medical marijuana dispensaries within the city limits. The council decided that there are too many holes in state law dealing with the issue and so the council decided o take some time to develop regulations of their own.
Mayor Mattila and several councilors said that the job can be done in far less time than a year. One councilor mentioned perhaps as few as three or four months.
It was also mentioned that a voter referendum to legalize recreational marijuana is on the November ballot and could make cast medical marijuana dispensaries in a different light. Marijuana would be generally available with minimal regulations much like alcohol or tobacco. Marijuana could fall under an Oregon Liquor Control-type commission with taxes paid to the state and some of that revenue shared back to cities and counties as is already done with alcohol and cigarette sales.
Councilor Brent Barry derailed the vote on the first go round by voting no on the moratorium. Because the vote was two votes short of unanimous, the law allowed the council to vote on whether to reconsider – a vote that must be unanimous if it’s to be officially passed during a single council meeting. Councilor Barry said for the sake of “going along” with the majority, he allowed a second vote on the issue. The final vote was a little different. Berry voted no. Everybody else voted yes. Later Berry said he felt ashamed that he agreed to a re-vote. Had he continued his protest, it might have turned out completely different. Deeply disappointed in the discussion and realizing he could have stopped the moratorium, he lambasted the council, got up and left the building.
Councilor Dorinda Goddard said “There are big problems with the state law. We need more time to figure this out.”
Depoe Bay resident Robert Beilin practically begged the council to not enact the moratorium because there are so many cancer and other serious disease cases in Lincoln County. He said “It’s not right that they have to drive great distances and burn a lot of expensive gas just to buy certified-tested marijuana from the valley.
The council’s second 6 to 1 vote is now binding and in the history books. The council also committed to doing a thorough examination of the issue before the town gets its first marijuana dispensary whether later this year or early next.