A few weeks ago we wrote about local moratoriums on medical marijuana sales in Oregon. As with Washington's recreational marijuana regulations, cities in Oregon were given the choice to enact local one-year bans on medical marijuana dispensaries. As the deadline to enact the bans passed yesterday, Oregon's resistance to medical marijuana became clear. More than 150 cities and counties decided to enact the bans. Though some chose to ban the dispensaries reluctantly, others were firm in their opposition, even claiming the moratoriums do not go far enough.
It turns out Oregon and Washington have a lot in common when it comes to marijuana law. While our neighbors to the north have been making headlines with recreational marijuana legalization, Oregon too is becoming a bit more welcoming to marijuana in certain respects. Though we are a long way from effectively legalizing marijuana, the Oregon Legislature recently sanctioned retail medical marijuana dispensaries. Unfortunately, as Washington has already learned, this leniency rarely comes without complication.
The extremely limiting zoning requirements surrounding Washington's recreational marijuana law have been well documented here and elsewhere. To summarize, these zoning provisions are so restrictive that there are very few places in Washington that recreational marijuana sales will be allowed. Recently, it seems as if this problem has come to a head.
Location, location, location. If you're thinking of opening any business, you'll likely begin by asking yourself "where?" For the first entry in our I-502 series, we'd like to shed a light on some of the zoning challenges the I-502 marijuana law poses for new businesses in Washington.