Medical Marijuana: 'We're just trying to find something that's acceptable'

COOS COUNTY, Ore. -- The Oregon State Senate passed a bill giving local governments the authority to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, which will now move to the House.

The current version of the bill says local governments can't ban medical marijuana dispensaries, but they can regulate them.

Officials in Coos County who spoke about the issue all said they don't have any set rules on the books to deal with dispensaries.

So, some of them are asking for time. "If we don't do some pre-planning on this, they'll locate in residential areas or near daycares, in places where people really don't want them," said Coos County Commissioner Melissa Cribbins.

The cities of Coos Bay and North Bend have already voted on moratoriums so they can figure out where future dispensaries can and can't go. "We're just trying to find something that's acceptable so that we don't cause problems or conflicts in neighborhoods," said Coos Bay City Manager Roger Craddock.

The City of Bandon has proposed a 120 day moratorium, while Coquille and Coos County are also considering one.

Leaders in smaller cities say there hasn't been a formal discussion yet.

With just under 1,600 medical marijuana card holders in Coos County, there are still some places out there where people can get medical marijuana that don't necessarily call themselves dispensaries.

Terrence O'Conner, the North Bend City Administrator, says that is another problem in itself. "We're aware of its existence, and now we have to figure out how its existence comports with current legislation."

For now, it's up to local governments to make the rules and regulations, but they are waiting for the legislature to make a final decision. "We're still looking for legal clarification as well, as what that truly means," said O'Conner.

During the moratoriums, county and city officials say they will hold public meetings before voting on any new ordinances.

The bill will now move to the Oregon House for consideration.