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New twist as Crook County joins in pot-shop ban


Crook County became the second county in Central Oregon Wednesday to place a temporary moratorium on medical marijuana facilities.

After taking public statements from the district attorney and county health officials –both in favor of the ban –county commissioners and the county judge voted unanimously to adopt the moratorium.

The move comes as Prineville city councilors have not yet formally decided on a similar moratorium.

City officials told NewsChannel 21 the council held a workshop a few weeks ago and discussed it again at a meeting last week, directing staff to move forward with the one-year ban. The issue is on next Tuesday’s council agenda for the first of two public hearings.

County Judge Mike McCabe said although the temporary ban will only last until May 2015, when state lawmakers revisit the issue, he hopes Crook County will eventually be able to permanently the shops.

“It’s (marijuana) in juices, it’s in candies, it’s in cotton candy, we found out today,” McCabe said. “And it’s just something we don’t want our kids involved with.”

Jefferson County officials said county commissioners will hold a hearing on the issue April 9th and could also vote whether or not to ban medical marijuana facilities that same day.

But Redmond Mayor George Endicott said their city council — and dozens of others around the state — just learned their moratoriums may need to be passed again.

Like many cities, Redmond passed an ordinance referring to the law recently passed by the state Legislature, which allows local governments to adopt a moratorium — but they must do so by May 1st, and it will only be in effect until next May 1st, by which time lawmakers will revisit the issue.

Endicott told NewsChannel 21 the state Department of Justice had informed the Oregon Health Authority that all such ordinances must explicitly state the May 1st, 2015 expiration date — that referring to the state law is not good enough to pass muster.

Endicott called the change “a waste of government resources,” noting that the state did something similar to local governments that wished to consider imposing a gas tax in recent years.

The Redmond council has the revised ordinance on its April 8th agenda — for the third straight meeting. It adopted the moratorium 6-1 Tuesday night, after last week’s initial effort failed due to the lack of unanimity.

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