n Council also discusses request for police staffing study

The Sherwood City Council is looking at temporarily banning medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

During a Jan. 21 Sherwood City Council work session, City Manger Joe Gall said the council could adopt a measure similar to Hillsboro, which approved a 120-day ban on such dispensaries the same night.

Medical marijuana was legalized in the state in 1998, allowing registered cardholders to legally consume marijuana for medical reasons. House Bill 3460, which goes into effect on March 1, establishes the registration and licensing of dispensary shops for medical marijuana cardholders.

Sherwood’s city attorney, Chris Crean, said that any city that tries an outright ban on the dispensaries is “begging for a lawsuit”

He added however, that, “There are a number of ways to skin this cat in a regulatory way.”

State law requires the dispensaries be located in a commercial, industrial or agricultural area, and they are prohibited from being within 1,000 feet of a school or 1,000 feet of another dispensary.

Sherwood Police Captain Ty Hanlon said there are currently medical marijuana dispensaries all over Multnomah County with 10,387 registered medical marijuana users in that county. By comparison, Washington County has 4,295 such patients and no dispensaries.

Hanlon said that Oregon’s November ballot could have measures asking voters whether they want outright legalization of recreational marijuana use similar to those passed in Washington and Colorado. Mayor Bill Middleton said he’d like the city to draft an ordinance and bring it back to the council as soon as possible.

In other council discussion, Middleton suggested launching a police staffing study. The mayor said he’d like to hire a firm, possibly Matrix Consulting Group, to conduct a study that could examine the police department to see where staffing is most needed.

Although such a study could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, Middleton said it would be informative, and in the long run, cost-effective since police services are a major city expense.

Councilor Dave Grant said he had concerns that Police Chief Jeff Groth wasn’t on hand to request such a study and wanted to hear what he thought of it.

KOIN News and Hillsboro Tribune reporter Jim Redden contributed to this report.

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