CANYON CITY – Grant County and the City of John Day have joined the parade of Oregon jurisdictions adopting moratoriums on marijuana dispensaries.
The County Court last week voted unanimously to adopt its ordinance putting the medical marijuana facilities on hold until at least May 1, 2015.
The ordinance was adopted as an emergency to beat a deadline set by a new state law.
Local governments have until May 1 to impose the moratoriums, and about 100 had done so by late last week.
The ordinance drew support from Sheriff Glenn Palmer and Dean Hoodenpyl, head of community corrections for the county.
Palmer said the medical marijuana law was expected to serve a couple thousand people, but now there are “tens of thousands” of cardholders.
“We have seen a lot of abuse of the system here in Grant County,” he said.
There was no testimony in opposition, unlike in some larger population areas, where people turned out to support broader availability of marijuana.
“I cannot believe we are being put in the position to have to do this,” said Commissioner Boyd Britton. “Duh. Do we need marijuana here, with the kids running around and our substance abuse problems.
“The legislature put us in a horrible position, and they ought to be ashamed of themselves.”
Judge Scott Myers agreed that it was a bad situation, and noted it was important to pass the ordinance.
The vote was unanimous.
The county ordinance doesn’t affect the incorporated areas, but the cities also can adopt moratoriums – and several in Grant County are doing so.
The exception so far is Prairie City, where the council on April 23 voted against passing a moratorium. The 4-1 vote means dispensaries could be cited in the city limits.
Councilors Kevin Dahlen, Viola Rose, Henry Goslin and Mayor Gary Waterhouse cast the yes votes, with Councilor Carole Garrison opposed. Councilor Les Church was absent, and one other position was vacant due to the resignation of Councilor Dennis Lynch.
In John Day, the city council last week passed a moratorium on a 6-0 vote, with one councilor absent.
The council in Mt. Vernon was scheduled to vote on a moratorium at its meeting this Tuesday night, and other cities in Grant County also were considering the issue.