Portland Considers Stricter Zoning Rules for Marijuana Businesses

Delaying a planned vote on marijuana regulations, the Portland City Council is considering implementing stricter rules to prevent dispensaries from clustering.

The vote will be suspended until September 26th to give the council time to look into new regulations. Previously, the plan was to implement 1,000-foot buffers between retailers in the same category — medical or recreational.

The council is now considering making all retailers subject to the same buffers: a medical dispensary couldn’t be within 1,000 feet of recreational pot shop.

Marijuana businesses are already banned from residential neighborhoods and must be at least 1,000 feet from schools.

Mayor Charlie Hales said the council is hoping to prevent a situation similar to what happened with lottery operators on Hayden Island.

“Having been once burned, we’re a little shy,” he said, noting that Hayden Island’s “Lottery Row” was a result of a lack of communication between the Oregon Lottery and Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

The buffer would not apply to wholesalers or processors, but some are displeased with the proposed rules.

Anthony Johnson, who co-wrote the measure that legalized recreational marijuana, argued that the voter-approved measure contained no language regarding strict zoning regulations.

“We would argue that marijuana should be treated like bars, breweries and wineries,” he said, and claimed that the free market would resolve any problems with oversaturation.



Photo Credit: Jeff Gunn

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