Marijuana in the City of Sandy

Date: March 30, 2015

The Facts about Marijuana in Sandy

With the State of Oregon's medical marijuana program and the passage of Measure 91 there are many questions surrounding marijuana use and sales in Sandy.  Measure 91 allowed the consumption and possession of marijuana in certain quantities for recreational use and also allowed recreational sales.  Over the course of 2014 and 2015, the City of Sandy has passed a number of ordinances regarding medical marijuana dispensaries.  The purpose of this news article is to provide a summary of these ordinances and keep citizens up-to-date on the changing landscape of marijuana.  

For several years, the City of Sandy has received inquiries about opening medical marijuana dispensaries.  While the State of Oregon allowed medical marijuana use, the law was unclear regarding the dispensaries who sold medical marijuana.  The City Council has been opposed to allowing medical marijuana dispensaries and they are still illegal under federal law.  During 2014, the City Council enacted an ordinance effectively banning medical marijuana dispensaries.  A lawsuit was brought against the city with the argument that the state legislature had preempted local governments from banning these facilities.  This case was in the judicial process until July of 2015.  At that time, the Council used a recently passed piece of state legislation (House Bill 3400) that allowed cities to enact a moratorium on medical and recreational dispensaries until the general election held in November of 2016.  In this election, voters could decide the issue.  

During the time this ban on medical marijuana dispensaries was in effect, the City Council also passed a land use ordinance that would go into effect if the ban was repealed, or the state was found to have preempted local government from enacting a ban.  This land use ordinance would designate that medical marijuana dispensaries would be a conditional use in the I-2 (Light Industrial) and C-2 (General Commercial) zones.  Dispensaries were also prohibited from locating within 1,000 ft. of another dispensary, a K-12 school, a preschool, or a day care facility.  The city staff has been in the process of crafting an additional ordinance that would set further restrictions on the time, place, and manner in which these facilities would operate. 

With these actions by the City Council, the moratorium will provide additional time to further amend the land use ordinance to include recreational dispensaries, and to finalize the ordinance governing time, place, and manner.  These would only go into effect if the voters overturn the ordinance prohibiting these facilities within the city limits or if the City Council repeals the ordinance.  

On July 5, 2016 the City Council referred two items to the November 2016 election.  The first is a ban on medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries in the city limits of Sandy.  The Council passed Ordinance 2015-08 last year to place a ban on these facilities pending a vote of the citizens.  

In addition to this ban, the Council also referred a local 3% tax on the sale of recreational marijuana products to a vote of the citizens.  If the ban is not repealed but the tax is approved by voters, it would not go into effect unless the ban is repealed in the future.  If the ban is repealed and the tax is approved by voters, the city would be eligible to receive 3% of all legal recreational marijuana sales in the City of Sandy.  A no vote on the tax would mean that the tax would not go into effect regardless of the vote on the ban.  



The City of Sandy has passed an ordinance that would set up regulations for marijuana facilities if voters overturn the prohibition in November.  These regulations would establish operating procedures for the dispensaries and establish city procedures for approving these facilities.  The City Council has also passed land use ordinances which would designate that marijuana dispensaries, both recreational and medical, would be a conditional use in the I-2 (Light Industrial) and C-2 (General Commercial) zones.  Dispensaries were also prohibited from locating within 1,000 ft. of another dispensary or a K-12 school and 250 ft. from a preschool, or a day care facility.

More information about the proposed ordinances can be found by reviewing the City Council agenda page and looking at the meetings where the Council discussed and voted upon Ordinances 2016-05, 2016-06, and 2016-07 in September and October of 2016.  These ordinances will be effective before the vote in November but only enforced if the prohibition is repealed.  

For more details or if you have questions, feel free to contact the City Manager, Seth Atkinson, at 503-668-5533 or