Ordinance gives city time 'to consider and adopt' regulations on facilities

The King City City Council on March 5 unanimously adopted an ordinance banning medical marijuana facilities within the city limits effective immediately.

A new chapter added to the municipal code temporarily prohibits medical marijuana facilities licensed by the state from operating within King City until the council has time "to consider and adopt proper zoning or other regulations for medical marijuana facilities."

The ordinance notes that the state was set to grant licenses in March, and "the City Council finds that March 2014 is too soon to provide adequate time to consider the issues related to medical marijuana facilities, seek public input and adopt proper regulations."

The council, which voted 5 to 0, declared an emergency so that the ordinance could go into effect immediately and not the usual 30 days later. City Manager Dave Wells explained to the council members that only if they voted unanimously could the emergency declaration take place.

The original agenda for the meeting listed the proposed ordinance under new business, but a later version of the agenda added "declaring an emergency."

"At our last (council) workshop session, it came up that there was a pending opening of a medical marijuana facility in King City, and the council asked me to come up with an ordinance to deal with it," Wells said.

The city ordinance notes that the Legislature in its 2013 special session passed House Bill 3460 that allows for the establishment and licensing of medical marijuana facilities.

"But that doesn't effectively regulate the facilities, and the state law didn't address all the issues," said Wells, adding that the law allows cities and counties to enact moratoriums until May 1, 2015, if they are enacted no later than May 1, 2014.

Councilor Malka Sekey noted, "We're buying time… It's just a way to stay a step ahead of the game."

Wells added, "We will revisit this, but we are giving ourselves some time… I believe the path we're choosing is the least offensive. We're not saying no, we're just saying, wait a minute. It's a moratorium. We're not banning it."

Mayor Ron Shay noted, "Ours is a good first step until the state makes up its head."

On March 20 Gov. John Kitzhaber has signed the bill that allows local jurisdictions to ban medical marijuana facilities.

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