TD Council Approves Medical Marijuana Location Ordinance

The Dalles City Council approved an ordinance governing where medical marijuana dispensaries can be located.  Councilors had put a moratorium in place to allow time to develop the zoning rules, but that was due to expire May 1, and Mayor Steve Lawrence said they needed to get the ordinance passed even though the landscape may change with the legalization of recreational marijuana.  Councilors approved municipal planning commission recommendations to allow the dispensaries as an outright permitted use restricted to three commercial zones:  the Central Business District, the General Commercial District, and the Commercial Light Industrial District.  The ordinance puts siting distance restrictions used for adult businesses into effect for medical marijuana outlets.  However, the Council elected to allow the dispensaries to operate on weekends, while the planning commission had sought to restrict the businesses to weekday hours.  The vote to approve was three-to-one with Dan Spatz opposed, noting marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and he was uncomfortable with state and local governments moving in opposition to that.

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