Clackamas County commissioners this week unanimously approved moving forward with a plan to limit all marijuana facilities within their jurisdiction to small urban areas near Milwaukie and Gladstone.

Two medical marijuana dispensaries currently operate on McLoughlin Boulevard, and the new rules would prevent marijuana facilities from being within 2,500 feet of either of them, even if they convert to recreational marijuana stores next year.

With the new regulations, there would only be room on McLoughlin Boulevard for a total of three outlets, whether they’re marijuana stores or medical marijuana dispensaries. They won’t be allowed within 2,000 feet of schools, within 500 feet of licensed child care facilities, or within 1,500 feet of light-rail stations, libraries, parks, treatment centers, adult foster care homes, public housing and liquor stores. Cities can create their own marijuana regulations.

Measure 91, a plan to legalize marijuana approved by Oregon voters last year, gives counties and cities the ability to control potential nuisances caused by marijuana outlets by regulating their “time, place and manner.”

Clackamas County has decided to limit dispensaries to the metro area, because of the difficulty of policing dispensaries in rural areas. County Chairman John Ludlow said it didn’t bother him that people in Government Camp might have to drive all the way into a city in order to buy marijuana.

Commissioner Jim Bernard said that the bigger concern was concentration of facilities in urban areas, where marijuana would be more easily accessed by public transit.

“My concern is that McLoughlin Boulevard becomes marijuana central,” Bernard said.

Although recreational marijauna won’t be allowed until 2016, Commissioner Paul Savas urged fellow elected officials to pre-empt recreational marijuana outlets under the same regulations as medical marijuana dispensaries.

“We’ve got to prevent McLoughlin from becoming a proliferation of outlets, whether they’re medical or not,” Ludlow said.

The regulations still need final approval by county commissioners, who plan to meet again to discuss county regulations once the Oregon Liquor Control Commission decides on the rules for legal marijuana.