MEDFORD, Ore. — The state may have just given cities an indirect way of blocking medical marijuana dispensaries. After a long meeting Monday, the rules advisory council decided, among other things, that dispensaries will likely have to abide by local zoning laws.
According to medical marijuana advocates, that decision comes as little surprise. The state law already includes certain restrictions. For example, dispensaries can’t be placed within a thousand feet of each other or within a thousand feet of a school.
Local advocates say they agree that cities should have zoning rights, but if cities try to ban them outright, there will be a legal fight ahead.
“If they just try to do a de-facto moratorium of sorts, which is what they’re doing in this case, with a weak legal precedent, then I don’t see the logic behind that,” said Alex Rogers, the CEO of Ashland Alternative Health.
Medford isn’t the only city to make it clear that they don’t want dispensaries. They also say they’re prepared to seek litigation if they have to – one of the few things both sides seem to agree upon.
The decisions made in Monday’s advisory council meeting aren’t necessarily final. There will likely be another meeting in February to continue ironing out this law. Either way, dispensaries will be able to apply for licenses starting March 3rd.