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Voters in both Gates and Brownsville will have opportunities to vote on whether their communities should allow new medical marijuana businesses to operate within their city limits on the November ballot.

Brownsville has a medical marijuana dispensary, The Green Cross, already in place, but Ballot Measure 22-173 would prohibit any new medical marijuana dispensaries and processing sites as well as recreational marijuana producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers.

It would not prohibit personal recreational marijuana growing, up to four plants per household, nor would it affect legal possession of medical marijuana or recreation marijuana within the city limits.

Gates voters will decide if they want to prohibit medical marijuana processors and dispensaries (Ballot Measure 24-430), as well as recreational marijuana producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers. Gates also has an established medical marijuana dispensary, Canyon Cannabis. 

According to Oregon law, communities can ban such operations, but the question must be voted on by residents.

Brownsville City Administrator Scott McDowell said the issue began when a large industrial marijuana growing complex was proposed just south of the community’s city limits.

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“The issue was that we wouldn’t allow any industrial complex in a residential area,” McDowell said. “Although the property was outside the city limits, it’s a residential area. Our zoning would not allow a steel mill in a residential neighborhood either. It doesn’t matter if it is marijuana, industry is not allowed.”

McDowell said Oregon statutes allow cities to put the issue of marijuana operations on the ballot in even-numbered election years.

Both measures would have revenue impacts for their communities. Ten percent of the state’s marijuana tax revenue is distributed to cities and cities can impose local taxes of up to 3 percent on marijuana sales.

Approval of either measure would disqualify the affected city from collecting the local tax or sharing in the state tax revenue.

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Contact Linn County reporter Alex Paul at 541-812-6114.

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