PHOENIX, Ore. — Cities across the Rogue Valley now want to reach out to the public as they continue to debate allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in city limits. But some city leaders said only the extreme advocates on both sides of the debate are speaking up.
Local cities are considering whether to deny licenses outright to medical marijuana dispensaries, or limit the locations the dispensaries can open, in order to keep them away from schools. Some cities are also unclear about whether a city ordinance banning the facilities would trump state law allowing them.
In Phoenix, city leaders want the public to get more involved. The mayor wants to put on an open forum in February to help get more opinions on the issue from average citizens, before the state laws go into effect in march.
“We want to get out to the neighborhoods and promote that you should be there,” said Phoenix Mayor Jeff Bellah. “If you want to have a say you should be there and let your opinions be known.”
Bellah said so far he has only heard arguments from people on either extreme of the debate, including people actively applying for business licenses.
Now the American Civil Liberties Union is weighing in. In a letter sent December 16 to Bellah and the entire city council, ACLU legislative director Becky Strauss urged the council to not pass any ordinance that limits access to medical marijuana.
Strauss could not be reached for comment Monday.