The Coos Bay City Council voted unanimously to lift a moratorium on new marijuana dispensaries in the city, but stopped short of easing the restrictions about where businesses can be located.
The council considered a new marijuana ordinance after it was approved by the Planning Commission. The commission recommendation allowed marijuana dispensaries in commercial and industrial districts with no requirement of space between the dispensaries.
But the city council chose to reinstate a 1,000-foot limit between marijuana businesses, greatly limiting where a new dispensary can go.
Mayor Joe Benetti said he wanted the space limit because he didn’t want to the city to be overrun with dispensaries.
“This has been going on for a while, and I’m not really sure of opening things up to a lot of marijuana facilities,” Benetti said. “I think we have a fair amount in currently, and I think there’s still some areas available. In my opinion, I think we should keep the 1,000-foot distance for marijuana businesses.”
Benetti said he was particularly concerned with the downtown corridor becoming a location full of dispensaries.
The new ordinance will not have an impact on existing dispensaries, almost all that would fall short of the 1,000-foot requirement.
“I agree. We need to keep the 1,000-foot distance,” Councilor Lucinda DiNovo said.
While all the council eventually voted in favor of the 1,000-foot limit, several voiced concerns about making rules that impact marijuana-related businesses more than others.
“It’s a tough thought for me because we are locking something in,” Councilor Stephanie Kilmer said. “I try to be on the side of letting the market decide.”
Councilor Drew Farmer said he was comfortable with no marijuana businesses near schools but not limiting them elsewhere.
But the majority of the council said allowing one kind of business to take over in any location,