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The Hillsboro City Council will consider temporarily banning medical marijuana dispensaries at its weekly meeting Tuesday, Jan. 21.

There are currently no medical marijuana dispensaries in Hillsboro. The council will consider an emergency ordinance prohibiting any from opening for 120 days, or until the zoning code is amended to regulate them — whichever happens first.

The temporary ban would be effective immediately if the council passes the ordinance.

According to Hillsboro Public Affairs Manager Patrick Preston, the ordinance is necessary because Hillsboro currently has no regulations related to medical marijuana dispensaries, including whether they can be located near public schools. The 2013 Special Session of the Oregon Legislature passed a medical marijuana registration system that allows them in areas zoned for commercial, industrial or mixed uses, however.

The ordinance states that the absence of such regulations “endangers the health, peace, and welfare of the city of Hillsboro.”

The city has received around a dozen inquiries about opening such dispensaries, Preston said.

The Hillsboro Planning Commission will initiate a planning process to regulate these dispensaries at its Jan. 22 hearing, and there will be at least one public hearing on the topic.

“The council wants to make sure there is enough time for everyone to be heard and all issues to be considered before the regulations are adopted,” Preston said. “There is a need to provide clarity for everyone involved.”

Other cities in the state are considering temporary or permanent bans, including nearby Tualatin. Portland already allows medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act was approved by voters in 1998. It amended state law to allow the cultivation, possession and use of marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation for patients with certain medical conditions. The 2013 Special Session of the Oregon Legislature passed HB 3460 to more effectively regulate the distribution of medical marijuana.

The Tuesday hearing begins at 7 p.m. in the Hillsboro Civic Center.

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