BANDON — The Bandon City Council unanimously approved an ordinance at a special hearing Monday night enacting a 120-day moratorium on siting medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits.
The council said the move gives the city time to plan for siting and regulating such facilities.
The ordinance also declared an emergency so the moratorium would go into effect immediately.
“The whole debate across the state is intensifying and keeps bringing up how these are going to fit into communities,” said City Attorney Fred Carleton. “Various cities’ approaches to this are all over the map.”
Carleton said some cities have banned the dispensaries outright, while others have enacted temporary bans. Further, he said, the Legislature has not been much help, though a bill was passed last week that allows cities to enact up to a one-year moratorium if passed by May 1.
The council, however, decided since it has been advertising that it wanted to pass a 120-day ban that it wouldn’t enact a longer one.
The Bandon Planning Commission will discuss the issue Thursday and look into the city’s existing zoning ordinances to determine what might work regarding where to site medical marijuana dispensaries. That meeting will be held at The Barn at 7 p.m. rather than City Hall, to accommodate more people.
Rob Taylor was the only member of the public who spoke at the hearing and said the council needed to plan because medical marijuana dispensaries are coming “whether you like it or not.” Taylor added that if the city doesn’t allow for them, marijuana will continue to be sold illegally. He said he approved of the 120-day ban, however.
“You might as well take the time and pass some restrictive regulations and move forward on it,” he said.
City Councilor Brian Vick said the Legislature has left cities hanging and that he has been studying the issue extensively.
“We just want to do it right,” he said.
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