BROWNSVILLE — A one-year moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in Brownsville will stay in place, and future dispensary requests likely will be turned down unless the federal government decriminalizes the drug.
Members of the Brownsville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to uphold a committee recommendation requiring all registered businesses to be in compliance with local, county, state and federal laws. Medical marijuana is allowed in Oregon but is still classified as a controlled substance by the U.S. government.
Councilors voted in March to impose the one-year moratorium after Randy and Gayle Simpson asked to open a dispensary downtown. City officials then formed the committee to study the dispensary question and what rules, if any, should be enacted in connection with them.
Councilor Mandy Cole, the committee chairwoman, read the recommendation to the audience.
From the outset, she said, the six members agreed medical marijuana can be beneficial to people with health issues. But with the feds still opposed and the rapidly-changing legal landscape surrounding the drug, the committee believes Brownsville should take “a long-term approach to the issue” and that dispensaries are “generally incompatible” with the zones in which they could be located.
“The committee’s discussions centered on Brownsville’s diminuitive size and its historical character; the atmosphere of the town, its traditional businesses, the importance of foot traffic and its family-friendly nature. The committee feels that this ambience needs to be maintained,” Cole read.
The Simpsons said they were extremely disappointed and called the committee’s research “a sham.”
“Where are the facts that they would base these actions on? We did not hear any,” Gayle read from a prepared statement. “It seems to be the personal opinion of its members that a dispensary is not the ‘right kind’ of business for Brownsville.
“We can only hope that our city council will someday consist of members who are forward-thinking enough to be able to see past their own personal agendas and opinions in order to address the needs of all the individuals and businesses in their community, instead of the agendas of those who happen to be in power.”
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