Despite statewide legalization of recreational marijuana numerous counties and cities throughout Oregon are fighting to maintain prohibition against retail marijuana sales.
Information released by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission states that 17 counties and 73 cities in Oregon seek to prohibit marijuana businesses from opening within their jurisdictions.
According to Measure 91, municipalities are able to opt out of permitting marijuana business within their jurisdiction.
The law dictates municipalities complete a petition with at least 10% support, and after a vote in the general election the municipality can prohibit marijuana business.
However, many communities, ranging from counties in rural Eastern Oregon to Portland suburbs, have urged lawmakers to bypass this process.
State lawmakers offered a compromise, allowing counties or cities who voted over 55% against Measure 91 to opt out of recreational marijuana sales and bypass the petition process outlined in the law.
15 counties, mostly in Eastern Oregon met that level of opposition.
Other communities seeking to restrict marijuana business still need to go through the petition process.
It is still legal to possess and grow marijuana in the entire state of Oregon. Communities can only ban the manufacture, processing, or sale of recreational marijuana.
The fight to keep the marijuana industry reflects the impact of generations of misinformation. Instead of reducing crime, these communities perpetuate a black market for marijuana.
Restricting access does not reduce demand.
Moreover, the communities who opt out of recreational marijuana sales also do not receive tax benefits.
With Oregon bringing in more than $11 million the first week of sales, beating both Colorado and Washington’s first weeks combined, the new marijuana industry is already proving its value to the state.
Residents from dry counties will have to travel to communities allowing recreational dispensaries, and the money spent will be invested in the neighboring community.
The effort to resist the legalization movement, even within a state that overwhelmingly accepted the law, highlights the struggle against the stigma created by decades of anti-marijuana rhetoric and propaganda that still continues today.