WARRENTON — Warrenton will wait and see if the state Legislature sets new guidelines on marijuana before the city decides whether to pursue restrictions on the drug.
The city has a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries that expires in May. State law prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools or other dispensaries, but some cities with moratoriums that will end, such as Seaside, are exploring further restrictions, like buffer zones between arcades and parks.
Warrenton agreed to tax marijuana before voters last November approved Measure 91, which legalized recreational use of the drug. Such preemptive local taxes, however, are under a legal cloud, since the measure barred local taxation.
Several bills before the Legislature could impact both medical and recreational marijuana. Under Measure 91, the recreational use of marijuana is legal starting this July, but the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will not accept licenses to produce, process, wholesale or retail the drug until next year.
Local ballot initiatives to restrict marijuana are not authorized until November 2016.
Mayor Mark Kujala, who had said in February that residents might be interested in a ballot initiative, said at a City Commission work session Tuesday night that he had not heard anything about such a move recently.
Warrenton voters approved Measure 91 by 54 percent to 46 percent, a fact that has become clearer to commissioners since the February discussion.
“I was in the minority when I voted and I have to temper my decisions so they reflect the 54 percent who voted for it,” said Commissioner Rick Newton.
Kujala also recognized voter sentiment. “That means something,” he said.
The city might look more closely at whether its zoning should be updated given the potential for marijuana growing operations.