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Pot Makes Its Way To Polk

Recreational marijuana sales begin Thursday, Commissioners to look at land-use laws to allow drug

Recreational marijuana sold by medical marijuana dispensaries will be taxed 25 percent at the register.

Recreational marijuana sold by medical marijuana dispensaries will be taxed 25 percent at the register. Emily Mentzer/Itemizer-Observer file

Recreational marijuana sales begin Thursday

INDEPENDENCE — Two medical marijuana dispensaries, both in Independence, will begin selling marijuana flower to the public on Thursday.

Healing Green Dispensary, 769 N. Main St., suite C, and Blackbird Indica, 319 S. 10th St., will expand their clientele from medical marijuana patients to the general public.

The legalization of recreational marijuana was passed by Oregon voters in the November 2014 general election. A 10 percent sales tax from the city of Independence will be charged at the register beginning Thursday. A statewide sales tax will be charged beginning in January 2016.

For more information on recreational marijuana: whatslegaloregon.com.

POLK COUNTY — The Polk County Board of Commissioners voted Sept. 16 to extend a moratorium on marijuana production and sales within unincorporated areas of the county for six months.

The moratorium will allow the Polk County Community Development Department to craft an amendment to the county’s land use code creating regulations — mostly regarding location — for marijuana production, processing, wholesaling, retail sales and medical marijuana dispensaries.

That amendment would go before the Polk County planning commission and board of commissioners for approval.

The board held a public hearing Sept. 16 on extending the moratorium, after which it voted to approve it.

The move signals that the board is working toward allowing marijuana businesses in the county, something Commissioner Mike Ainsworth, who provided the lone vote against the plan, isn’t pleased with.

“I think we are on a slippery slope in regards to marijuana,” he said, adding even though the law restricts the drug to those 21 and older, younger people will have more access, in his opinion.

The state has allowed counties that had a vote tally of 55 percent or more against Measure 91, the initiative that legalized recreational marijuana possession and use, to ban manufacture and sales of the drug. At 52.5 percent voting “no” on the measure, Polk County fell just short of that threshold.

Ainsworth said his opposition is representing those voters.

“On this one, I’m going to stand my ground,” said Ainsworth, who also is involved with Polk County’s Drug Court program. “I’m not in favor of it.”

Austin McGuigan, the county community development director, said with the moratorium in place, the planning commission will begin creating a legislative amendment to recommend to the board. He said that work should be completed by early next year.

McGuigan said the objective with the delay is providing plenty of opportunity to Polk County citizens to weigh in on the regulations. He said it’s possible the new regulations could be completed before the six-month moratorium ends.

“The board wanted to hold more hearings,” McGuigan said. “That gives ample time for board to hold its own public hearings.”

Recreational marijuana sales begin Thursday

INDEPENDENCE — Two medical marijuana dispensaries, both in Independence, will begin selling marijuana flower to the public on Thursday.

Healing Green Dispensary, 769 N. Main St., suite C, and Blackbird Indica, 319 S. 10th St., will expand their clientele from medical marijuana patients to the general public.

The legalization of recreational marijuana was passed by Oregon voters in the November 2014 general election. A 10 percent sales tax from the city of Independence will be charged at the register beginning Thursday. A statewide sales tax will be charged beginning in January 2016.

For more information on recreational marijuana: whatslegaloregon.com.

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