Aug 13, 2015
KATU - SALEM, Ore. (AP) - At least a dozen Oregon cities and counties have taken steps to ban marijuana businesses from their boundaries as the state prepares to begin retail sales in October.
Four counties and eight cities have informed the Oregon Liquor Control Commission that they plan to ban marijuana producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers. In some jurisdictions, the ban must go before voters.
Oregon lawmakers gave local governments the ability to keep out marijuana businesses
, which were authorized by voters under last year's Measure 91. In counties where at least 60 percent of voters opposed the measure, local governments can ban the marijuana businesses outright; elsewhere, a ban is temporary until voters weigh in.
Even in jurisdictions that opt out, adults can still grow and use marijuana
subject to the same limits that apply in the rest of the state. But if they want to buy the drug from a retail store, they'll have to travel to somewhere that allows them.
The strongest opposition so far has come from far-eastern Oregon, where Malheur County and three of its five incorporated cities have adopted bans.
"I think some of our problem here really is our proximity to Idaho, where it's totally illegal," said Larry Wilson, a Malheur County commissioner. "We even had testimony from police agencies on the other side of the river asking us to please opt out, or restrict it as much as we can, because that's a problem with people going back and forth across the river."
The cities that have notified the Oregon Liquor Control Commission that they're opting out are: Ontario, Vale, Nyssa, Brownsville, Sandy, Island City, Sutherlin and Junction City. The counties are Douglas, Umatilla, Harney and Malheur.
Other city councils or county commissions may have voted to ban pot businesses but haven't formally notified the commission.
State law gives local governments until Dec. 27 to adopt a ban, said Mark Pettinger, a spokesman for the commission.
Marijuana possession and use became legal on July 1, but the state won't be ready to begin regulated sales until next year. As a temporary stop-gap, medical dispensaries are allowed to begin selling the drug in some forms on Oct. 1.