• Marijuana dispensaries on Ashland agenda tonight

    Council could take first step toward lifting moratorium
  • The Ashland City Council could take the first step in lifting a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in town tonight.
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  • The Ashland City Council could take the first step in lifting a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in town tonight.
    The council meets at 7 p.m. in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.
    Councilors enacted a moratorium in April to give Ashland time to work out city regulations governing the location and operation of dispensaries.
    The council could approve the first reading of an ordinance to lift the moratorium today. The second reading could occur on Aug. 5.
    The lifting of the moratorium would then take place 30 days later.
    So far, two medical marijuana dispensaries have been issued provisional licenses from the state to open.
    One dispensary planned on Williamson Way will not be able to open because of location regulations councilors are expected to adopt tonight. That dispensary is too close to homes.
    Another dispensary on Clear Creek Drive could get the green light.
    The council also is set to give final approval for an ordinance authorizing a city tax on marijuana sales.
    The ordinance would impose a tax of up to 5 percent on medical marijuana and a tax of up to 10 percent on recreational marijuana.
    The exact tax rate would be set later.
    Oregon voters will decide in November whether to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.
    In other business tonight, the council will choose paint colors for the downtown Plaza information kiosk and decide whether to keep a second kiosk where people post fliers and posters about community events.
    The Downtown Beautification Committee had recommended removing the kiosk that advertises community events, calling it unsightly.
    Councilors will decide whether to authorize spending $440,754 for the construction of Ashland Creek Park on East Hersey Street.
    The state is contributing $309,000 in parks and recreation funding toward the $749,754 project.
    The council could also approve spending a total of $120,793 on a project started last fall to clean sediment out of two catchment ponds above Reeder Reservoir in the Ashland watershed.
    The work would continue this summer and is meant to protect water quality and safeguard the reservoir's storage capacity, which shrinks if sediment settles there.
    Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.
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