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Council approves ordinance banning recreational marijuana, sends issue to voters

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Sherwood voters will determine in November whether they want rec pot sales and production


The Sherwood City Council has banned the sale of recreational marijuana inside the city along with its production. Now voters will decide if they will support the ban.Sherwood residents hoping to buy legal marijuana in their town may have to find someplace else to buy their bud.

The Sherwood City Council approved an ordinance this week that bans the sale of recreational marijuana in the city, joining a handful of area cities that have chosen to stop the sale of the now-legal substance.

On Tuesday, the Council voted 5-2 to ban recreational pot shops from opening in Sherwood. The ban also stops recreational marijuana processors, wholesalers and producers from setting up in town.

But voters will have the final say. Under Oregon’s new marijuana laws, the ban must go before voters, who will decide whether to keep the ban this November.

Although recreational marijuana use was approved by voters statewide in November 2014, 53 percent of Sherwood voters in that election didn't think it should be legalized.

Sherwood isn’t alone in trying to stop marijuana sales. Wilsonville has also passed similar ordinances against both medical and recreational marijuana.

Sherwood Mayor Krisanna Clark and Council President Jennifer Harris voted against the recreational marijuana ban.

“We don’t get to put borders up in Sherwood,” Clark said, noting that if marijuana isn’t available in Sherwood, residents would simply drive to Newberg or King City to obtain it. She also said that Sherwood would lose out on the taxes the product would provide.

“I won’t be smoking it, myself,” said Clark. “But the state of Oregon said, ‘This is something we’ll allow.’”

Harris said that the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary only several miles down the road told her that 50 percent of his customers come from Sherwood.

Councilor Linda Henderson said she looked at the intrinsic issues that arise from the legalization of marijuana, and that they are not the types of issues that help to bring a community together.

Councilor Renee Brouse said she looked at the question of banning recreational sales through several different lenses, including her own personal experiences growing up in a family where the drug was readily available, and as a teacher, who has taught classes to teens teaching them to say “no” to drugs and alcohol.

Brouse said she looked at it from a pro-business standpoint and the viewpoint of many citizens who overwhelmingly told her they didn’t want to see recreational marijuana sold in Sherwood.

Medical marijuana will still be available in Sherwood. A separate ordinance that would have banned medical marijuana sales and production died because no council member made a motion to move it forward for a vote.

To date, only one medical marijuana dispensary has said it plans to open in Sherwood. The dispensary, operated by Sherwood resident Sheri Ralston, is located on Tualatin-Sherwood Road immediately across the street from the DEQ vehicle emission testing station. That facility is expected to open soon. Also, a marijuana producer has expressed interest in Sherwood as well.

Tuesday’s ban wasn’t the only action related to marijuana taken in Sherwood this week.

In separate actions, the council also approved imposing a 3-percent tax on recreational marijuana sales, should its ban fail with voters, and rescinded a previously approved 10-percent tax on marijuana. That 10 percent tax was approved by Sherwood City Council members in 2014 before recreational marijuana was legalized. Since then, Oregon legislators have said local taxes on recreational cannabis cannot exceed 3 percent.