Localities Can't Turn Down Marijuana Dispensaries

Nov 7, 2013

The Oregon Legislature's legal advisors say local governments cannot 'just say no' to medical marijuana dispensaries.

Credit Jorge Barrios/Wikimedia

The Oregonian reports that the opinion was sought after the city of Medford adopted a local ordinance saying business licenses will not be given to anyone who violates local, state, and federal laws.

And despite a new state law that permits dispensaries to sell medical marijuana to cardholders, the federal government still considers marijuana illegal.

The non-binding legal opinion from the Office of Legislative Counsel says that while a city can require a medical marijuana dispensary to have a business license, the city cannot enforce an ordinance in such a way that would prevent the dispensary from operating.

The opinion is at odds with federal court rulings that permit cities to ban dispensaries.