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City Council tightens restrictions on marijuana dispensaries

Canby’s City Council has drawn a line in the sand when it comes to marijuana dispensaries within the city.

Wednesday night they put more bite in an earlier ordinance change. Mayor Brian Hodson said he likes the changes and thinks it’s what Canby needs.

“A couple of months back we changed some language for our business licenses,” Hodson said.

The council changed some phrasing that meant if a potential business license applicant to Canby violated city, state or federal law, the council could deny the business license.

Hodson said that ongoing conversations between Police Chief Bret Smith, city attorney Joseph Lindsay and other cities revealed that the previous ordinance needed a bit more bite. That led to Wednesday’s passage of more language to make the ordinance stronger.

“Their opinion was that we needed to go a little farther,” said Hodson. “It would allow, even if someone were distributing or working in that (marijuana) industry, and they were found to have marijuana or selling it, it would give the city attorney or district attorney and the police department the authority to make the necessary arrests.

“We could limit it on a business standpoint with the license, but if someone were working at a dispensary or in that field were caught selling that substance, they would be arrested and prosecuted here in Canby,” Hodson added. “They couldn’t say they are allowed to sell it because they work at a dispensary.”

Hodson noted that was a loophole in the ordinance that the city felt it was important to close moving forward. Now, Canby has bought itself some time as the Oregon Legislature grapples with the issue and a potential ballot measure seems likely to appear.

According to Hodson, there are 150 people in Canby with medical marijuana cards, but he is not aware of any dispensary inquiries thus far.

“I’m satisfied with it,” said Hodson of the ordinance upgrade. “I’m glad the Council has approved this. “I do believe that Canby has some major concerns about drug use in our community. “

Hodson said he’s been working with the Clackamas County Youth Diversion Program and noted that one of the “biggest increases in marijuana possession is between the ages of 10-13,” and that they are most often getting it from parents with medical marijuana card or a friend whose parents have a medical marijuana card.

“What we’ve put in place buys us time as the state figures out how to regulate this,” said Hodson. “I do think this (marijuana legalization) will be on the November ballot.”



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