More than 70 municipalities in Oregon have implemented moratoriums on medical cannabis dispensaries, limiting businesses opportunities in many areas of the state for at least another year.
The latest tally – reported in The Oregonian – highlights the desire by numerous local officials to take a wait-and-see approach as the state rolls out its dispensary program.
A law passed earlier this year gives municipalities until May 1 to enact temporary bans on dispensaries. The moratoriums expire in May 2015, though some cities will likely seek permanent bans.
“You have a mix of cities and counties that are definitely saying no and you also have quite a number saying, ‘We don’t know yet. We want time,'” Rob Bovett – legal counsel for the Association of Oregon Counties, which lobbied for the law allowing cities to enact moratoriums- told The Oregonian.
In addition to the cities that have already official implemented bans, another 40 are reportedly considering such moves as the deadline approaches.
Several of Oregon’s largest cities – including Portland, Salem and Eugene – have not enacted moratoriums, and the bulk of MMJ business activity will likely occur in these areas.
The state recently started granting licenses to the first crop of dispensaries and has now approved 43 applications. It also awarded 22 provisional licenses earlier this month. Dispensaries that receive a provisional license must first install a security system and get final approval from the Oregon Health Authority before opening.
The state expects to award around 255 dispensary permits in total.