Cannabis advocate has eyes on Dallas

Medical marijuana business might lobby for change in city ordinance

DALLAS — Medical marijuana in Dallas?

No, but it is a conversation local medical marijuana advocates say they would like to start with city officials.

Margo Lucas, a Polk County resident and member of the Salem Cannabis Industry Association, recently spoke before the Dallas City Council, suggesting the city reconsider its position on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Currently, the city’s development code has a prohibition on business that don’t comply with federal law, in this case federal law doesn’t recognize the medical use of marijuana. In order to permit a dispensary, the city would have to change its code.

While it has passed ordinances to tax both medical and recreational marijuana businesses, the city to this point has expressed no interest in changing the code to accommodate dispensaries.

This case is no exception, Dallas City Manager Ron Foggin said on Monday.

“We could not move forward with any business (involving marijuana),” Foggin said.

Lucas and the Salem group want to see if that position could be changed.

“It’s obviously up to them, but we would like to work and help them however we can,” Lucas said Friday.

Lucas, who lives in rural Polk County, said her objective was to open a dispensary in Dallas to help serve the need in the area. As of Jan. 1, there were 1,061 medical marijuana card holders in Polk County, according to the Oregon Health Authority. There are only two dispensaries in Polk County, both in Independence.

Lucas said she’s in talks with city officials, but “no plans have been made at this time.”

Foggin said so far that discussion has just consisted of Lucas asking what the city’s policy is on dispensaries and her comments before the council on Jan. 20, not a formal request for a review of an application.

However, that hasn’t stopped Lucas from checking out possible locations. She said she has been speaking with landlords in Dallas about the possibility of a dispensary if the city’s code were to change.

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