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Grants Pass Upholding City Ordinance

Grants Pass city councilGRANTS PASS, Ore. —  In order for a business to have a license in Grants Pass, it must operate legally at a federal, state and local level. Medical marijuana dispensaries will become legal in Oregon come March, but that doesn’t mean change is coming to Grants Pass.

Grants Pass city councilors have reviewed the city’s ordinance when it comes to business licenses and despite state-wide laws on medical marijuana dispensaries changing March 1st, city council has decided not to make any exceptions.

“Basically, the decision that we made was to not change anything in regards to our ordinances,” said Grants Pass city councilor Dennis Webber.

Councilor Webber said, for years businesses have had to operate legally at all levels. In March, the state will allow medical marijuana dispensaries — something the federal government doesn’t recognize.

“We have always said that a business has to comply at all three levels– local, state and federal. That’s been our practice, we’re not going to change that,” said Webber.

Tuesday, the state senate approved a measure which allows local governments the ability to regulate, but not ban, the dispensaries.

“What the bill did, 1531, was said you can regulate hours and you can regulate places to control these dispensaries,” said Senator Alan Bates.

Senator Bates said it’s not yet clear if local governments can choose if the dispensaries are welcome or not.

“The question becomes is there a sovereignty there between cities and counties to say ‘not in our city, not in our county,’ and that is just not clear at this point,” said Senator Bates.

Councilor Webber said change at a federal level could be possible, but until then, no changes will be made to their long-standing ordinance

“The dispute between state and federal in regards to that issue, I’m sure, will get settled in a court somewhere, and that will probably inform us about what we do next, but for now, we’re going to leave our ordinances exactly as they’re written,” said Webber.

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