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Sherwood ponders pot distribution ban

Council looks at Hillsboro ban on medical marijuana centers

The Sherwood City Council is looking at temporarily banning medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

During a Jan. 21 Sherwood City Council work session, City Manger Joe Gall said the council could adopt a measure similar to Hillsboro, which approved a 120-day ban on such dispensaries that same night.

Medical marijuana was legalized in the state in 1998, allowing registered cardholders to legally consume marijuana for medical reasons. House Bill 3460, which goes into effect on March 1, establishes the registration and licensing of dispensary shops for medical marijuana cardholders.

Sherwood’s City Attorney Chris Crean said any city that tries an outright ban on the dispensaries is “begging for a lawsuit.”

However, he added, “There are a number of ways to skin this cat in a regulatory way.”

State law requires that dispensaries be located in a commercial, industrial or agricultural area, and they are prohibited from being within 1,000 feet of a school or 1,000 feet of another dispensary.

Mayor Bill Middleton said he’d like the city to draft an ordinance and bring it back to the council as soon as possible.

Sherwood Police Captain Ty Hanlon said there are currently medical marijuana dispensaries in Multnomah County with 10,387 registered medical marijuana users in that county. By comparison, Washington County has 4,295 such patients and no dispensaries.

Hanlon said Oregon’s November ballot could have measures asking voters whether they want outright legalization of recreational marijuana use similar to those passed in Washington and Colorado.

Recently, the Tualatin City Council voted to temporarily prohibit medical marijuana retail centers while it looks at a municipal code that would ban the centers in the coming months.

The Oregon Legislature is expected to look at a proposed bill in February that would allow regulation or restrict operators of medical marijuana facilities.

— KOIN News, Hillsboro Tribune reporter Jim Redden and The Times Tigard-Tualatin reporter Saundra Sorensen contributed to this report.

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