Monday, Deschutes County became the latest local government in Oregon to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries.
County commissioners unanimously approved a one-year moratorium in unincorporated areas.
Earlier this month, the Oregon Legislature passed a bill allowing cities and counties to ban medical marijuana dispensaries temporarily.
Deschutes County commissioners heard testimony from medical marijuana patients and proprietors who opposed the ban.
They also heard arguments in favor of a ban from Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton, who spoke on behalf of local law enforcement officials and public health advocates.
County Commissioner Alan Ungar says he believes there’s a genuine need for medical marijuana but he says the county needs time to figure out how to incorporate dispensaries into the county code.
“People have access today. We’re not taking the access they have today away. We’re looking at controlling what happens in the future. I think we need to move more quickly than slowly on this,” Unger said.
The bill passed by the legislature gives local governments until May 1 to pass such a moratorium.