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City has right to limit medical marijuana dispensaries

Last Monday, the Woodburn City Council passed an ordinance temporarily prohibiting the location of medical marijuana dispensaries within the city limits.

Councilor Jim Cox, the lone abstaining vote on the council, voiced his opposition to passing such an ordinance because he believes it limits what the people voted for. However, we at the Independent support the council’s decision.

This decision gives the Woodburn Planning Commission time to identify and recommend proper zoning for these businesses. It also allows time to see if any new laws regarding dispensaries are passed in the Legislature, which is currently in session.

Also keep in mind, this is a temporary ban. It’s not a knee jerk reaction in support of or against marijuana, but taking action on the side of caution. The city doesn’t want to welcome these businesses into the community without having some regulations, such as considering the distance of a dispensary from a school, and regulations and possible avenues have to be explored thoroughly. The council is also considering the viewpoints of its constituents while investigating the issue further. It is better that the city take its time in considering zoning regulations than coming to a quick decision.

While medical marijuana has been voted to be legal by the people, it doesn’t mean it has to be in Woodburn. The city has been within its rights to limit strip clubs and even food trucks from the city, even though those businesses are perfectly legal elsewhere. It’s not a question of legality, but whether it’s the right thing for Woodburn.

Unfortunately, if the city does ban medical marijuana dispensaries outright, we might not be rid of them entirely. Our city limits are quirky. Those food trucks along Highway 99E are actually outside of the city limits and beyond the council’s control. Even an outright ban may not be enough to keep these businesses out of our community. As Dr. Ian Malcolm in “Jurassic Park” says, “Life finds a way.”



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