The John Day City Council voted unanimously to overturn its ban on retail marijuana sales within the city limits on July 13.

Repealing allows for more grow sites and dispensaries in the city, but there will be some restrictions in the ordinance for these businesses.

An ordinance prohibits a dispensary or grow site from opening up within 1,000 feet of an educational facility, library, park, youth facility or another dispensary, according to the city’s agenda from its July 13 meeting.

John Day Mayor Ron Lundbom said, with the rules of where a dispensary or grow site can open, there are few places where they can go.

Lundbom said Monday, now that commercial operations are not banned, the city can now take part in state-shared revenue on pot taxes.

He said the city had seen some of the state-shared revenue off of recreational marijuana before the rules changed to distribute it only to cities and counties where marijuana sales were allowed. And, Lundbom noted, that was coming from Rocky Mountain Dispensary, a retail marijuana dealer just 100 yards from the city’s urban growth boundary in Grant County, which already allowed marijuana sales.

Lundbom said generating tax revenue was one of the reasons the city decided to rescind the ban. The other, he said, was that legalization turned out not to be the problem that people thought it was going to be.

He said the data did not support some of the earlier concerns.

“The ‘what-ifs’ just did not materialize,” he said. “The cops don’t go to Apple Road (where the only dispensary in the county is located). They go (to an address on) West Main Street.”

City Councilor Heather Rookstool said she has heard that people have expressed interest in opening a dispensary within the city.



Steven Mitchell is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at or 541-575-0710.

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