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Tualatin council won't move forward with marijuana ban

Mayor Lou Ogden, councilors discuss whether to put pot measure on November 2016 ballot

COURTESY - A map of Tualatin shows a small area of the city, in yellow, where marijuana facilities are allowed to operate.The Tualatin City Council backed away from the idea of referring a proposed ban on marijuana facilities to voters Monday, with Mayor Lou Ogden and others saying they do not believe such a measure would have the public's support.

A majority of the council agreed at a meeting last month to hold a work session on the potential of taking advantage of a new state law, which allows local jurisdictions to ban most marijuana facilities pending an election. But on Monday, even council members who personally support banning marijuana in Tualatin — including Ogden — seemed to have little appetite for the idea.

“I personally think having marijuana stores is bad for our community,” said Ogden. “But I'm not so sure that there's enough momentum among our community to fuel that concern.”

Councilor Nancy Grimes said she'd like to see a public vote on whether Tualatin should allow some of the types of marijuana facilities permitted under state law.

“But on the other hand, I would like to see sort of a community swelling of support to give us direction on what they would like to have happen,” she added.

“Someone needs to demonstrate to me that this community's behind a ban,” Ogden said.

Councilor Ed Truax made no effort to conceal his annoyance at the discussion. He said he is “done” with the marijuana issue and would not support a ballot measure.

“The problem is that every time we ask the community for a broad-based answer to the question, we get back an answer that you don't like,” he said. “It doesn't matter, to me, if I like the idea of it or not. How many times are we going to go to the community, and ask them basically the same thing, and get the same answer, before we believe it?”

The Tualatin City Council already adopted tight restrictions earlier this year that effectively contain marijuana businesses to a corner of the city's industrial district. No medical marijuana dispensaries currently operate in the city.

City attorney Sean Brady said it is an “open question” as to whether some of the city's marijuana ordinances, including its rule establishing a 2,000-foot buffer between marijuana facilities and a 10 percent tax on retail sales of marijuana, are allowable under Oregon law.

Tualatin has been more aggressive in limiting marijuana business than some of its neighbors, such as Tigard and King City.