- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - A state House committee has approved a compromise measure that would allow Oregon communities to ban medical marijuana facilities, but only temporarily.

The bill cleared the Rules Committee on Tuesday. It would allow cities and counties to control things like the hours and locations of the medical pot outlets. Local governments that don’t want the facilities would be able to ban them until May 2015.

The cities and counties originally wanted permanent authority to ban pot stores. House Democrats said the changes were a compromise designed to help the measure pass the Senate. They said legislators from both chambers have also committed to reviewing the issue of local control over medical marijuana facilities and may revisit it again in 2015.

Allowing a temporary ban gives the communities “breathing room” to prohibit the new pot outlets while they decide how they want to go forward with regulating them, said Rep. Paul Holvey, D-Eugene, the committee’s vice chairman.

The measure also gives dispensary owners who have paid the $4,000 fee to register their pot businesses an option to get a refund if their location becomes subject to a local ban. The state’s pot dispensary registration website, which went live Monday, has already received nearly 300 applications.

A lobbyist for the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police said the organization wanted the original bill with a permanent ban but recognized the need to compromise.

Craig Honeyman, a spokesman for the League of Oregon Cities told the panel he still wanted the original version of the bill and could not say whether the league supported the compromise.

But House Majority Leader Val Hoyle, D-Eugene, told Honeyman said the original bill faced unlikely odds, and his choices were “this or likely nothing.”

The bill goes next to the full House for a vote. Republicans say they will continue to push for a bill that allows permanent bans and may force a floor vote on the issue.


Reach reporter Chad Garland at http://www.twitter.com/chadgarland .