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Oregon Lawmakers May Allow Temporary Marijuana Dispensary Bans

File photo of a of a cannabis plant.
File photo of a of a cannabis plant.

Oregon lawmakers are hashing out a compromise on whether to allow cities and counties to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

After several days of debate, the Oregon House Wednesday approved a measure that permits communities to ban the storefront operations until May of next year.

More than two dozen Oregon towns want to ban dispensaries. But supporters of the medical marijuana program say that unfairly forces patients to travel elsewhere to get their medicine.

Oregon lawmakers are divided on whether or not to let cities and counties prohibit dispensaries. The compromise now working its way through the state house allow the bans, but only until May 2015.

Democratic Representative Peter Buckley says the bill will give those towns the chance to see how dispensaries work in other parts of the state.

"We're trying, I believe, to try to balance community safety and the safe access to medical marijuana for people who are on the medical marijuana program."

The compromise version of the bill easily passed the Oregon House and now heads to the Senate.

About 300 potential medical marijuana dispensaries have applied for a state license since the initial application period began on Monday.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.