Eagle Point passes one-year ban on medical pot dispensaries

A one-year ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in Eagle Point was approved by a 6 to 1 vote Monday by the City Council.

The ordinance, which took effect immediately under an emergency passing, mirrors decisions by other cities and Jackson County after medical marijuana dispensaries became legal under state law March 3. The Oregon Legislature passed a bill that allowed local governments to enact one-year moratoriums while they grappled with new ordinances, but the moratoriums had to be in effect by May 1.

Eagle Point Mayor Bob Russell said a moratorium was the city's way of buying additional time to adequately decide how to deal with dispensaries, which some citizens had actively encouraged the council to restrict.

Russell voiced frustration by a lack of direction from the state on how cities should handle cannabis-related businesses.

"We expected a lot more out of our Legislature, frankly, to help us determine what some other options would be for dealing with these facilities, but they chose to kick the can down the road and said you have until May 1 to pass a moratorium and have more time to figure it out," Russell said.

"So we decided, as a city, that we wanted to go ahead and pass the moratorium for one year. That's not to say we'll wait until May 1, 2015, to come up with our solution, but we weren't ready yet to make any decisions."

— Buffy Pollock

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