Government — April 7 meeting includes public hearing for proposed medical marijuana facility ban

The April 7 Newberg City Council meeting will feature a public hearing on an ordinance that would put a year-long ban on medical marijuana facilities within the city limits.

The ordinance proposal comes after a heated debate during the March 17 council meeting. The discussion spanned more than an hour including a presentation by Yamhill County District Attorney Brad Berry and Newberg Police Chief Brian Casey against medical marijuana and dispensaries.

“I believe medical marijuana is one of the greatest hoaxes played in America,” Casey said during the meeting. “I’m telling you, you would have an increase in criminal activity if we increase the amount of medical marijuana available. You can’t avoid it. It’s the law of averages, it’s going to happen.”

There was some support offered by Councilors Ryan Howard and Denise Bacon with Bart Rierson questioning the validity of the material presented, likening it to “Reefer Madness.”

The discussion ultimately ended with the council vote instructing City Attorney Truman Stone to draft the ordinance

The moratorium must be approved by the April 21 meeting in order to meet the May 1 deadline set by the Legislature to enact bans on marijuana dispensaries. The legality of such bans was determined with an amendment to Senate Bill 1531, signed into law by Gov. John Kitzhaber March 19.

The council will also consider several motions, including proclamations declaring April 6-12 National Volunteer week and April 14-19 National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

The remaining motion would authorize staff to submit an application for an enterprise zone designation within the urban growth boundary. An enterprise zone is designed to encourage business investment through property tax relief for businesses. “In exchange for locating or expanding into an enterprise zone, eligible (generally non-retail) businesses receive total exemption from the property taxes normally assessed on new plant and equipment,” according to the meeting packet.

To view the full agenda, visit

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