Central Oregon town puts moratorium on pot sales

Madras voters will decide whether to allow recreational marijuana sales.

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Madras voters will decide whether to allow recreational marijuana sales.

The City Council voted Tuesday to implement a moratorium until November 2016.

“Instead of City Council making that decision, we decided to take it back to the voters,” Councilor Richard Ladeby said Thursday. “Everything in the state is regulated by bigger cities in Multnomah County and Salem. This time, though, local communities can have their say. Why not let the voters and citizens have the chance to do so?”

Under House Bill 3400, communities such as Madras in counties that voted against Measure 91 by at least 55 percent have the option to ban retail and medical marijuana businesses. (Measure 91 legalized recreational marijuana use in Oregon.) Because Jefferson County voters opposed Measure 91 by 56.4 percent, the Madras City Council could have enacted an outright ban on all pot-related businesses instead of issuing a moratorium and sending the issue to the voters. The council split 2-2 on the temporary ban — Ladeby and Jim Leach were in favor and Bill Montgomery and Chuck Schmidt were opposed — with Mayor Royce Embanks breaking the tie by voting in favor of the moratorium.

(SOURCE: Bend Bulletin)

Madras joins Island City, Nyssa and Sandy as cities that have restricted sales. Harney, Malheur and Umatilla Counties have all implemented bans. Brownsville, Ontario, Vale and Douglas County opted out of the law when state legislators said such a decision was allowed.

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