Tualatin considering ban on medical marijuana

TUALATIN, Ore. - If Mayor Lou Ogden gets his way, no medical marijuana shops will be opening within Tualatin city limits.

According to Ogden, Tualatin is a city on the rise. There are developments planned all across town. Cabella's, for example, will be opening a Tualatin store soon.

But the mayor believes medical marijuana stores come with drawbacks.

"There's a perception among a lot of people that there are some negative impacts associated with this," Ogden said.

According to Ogden, the Tualatin city council is looking at three options. The first would be an outright marijuana ban.

A second option would be tying business licenses for marijuana dispensaries to federal laws, effectively banning it unless marijuana were legalized across the county.

A third option would be a set of strict zoning rules meant to keep shops far away from schools and homes.

Deciding on an option means considering the role of city government in regulating marijuana. Ogden admits he and the council are not sure they have legal authority to overstep state law.

"My hope is -- and I think the council shares this concern -- is I don't want to be the guinea pig who has to lead the court cases," Ogden said.

While the council has not made a final decision, there is already opposition to their plans.

Tualatin resident Scott Sutton battled an aggressive form of skin cancer in 2010.

"I didn't know what to do," Sutton said. "I couldn't eat, I couldn't think about eating so I went out and bought myself some marijuana."

Sutton said medical marijuana worked better than dozens of prescription pills, without any of the harsh side effects.

Sutton is now in remission. But he worries that if his cancer does come back, he will not have access to the one thing that helped him eat without getting sick.

"If someone has a medical need and is very ill and it works for them why are we not doing that?" Sutton asked.

Ogden hopes to have a new ordinance in place before March, which is when people can start applying for permits to open a dispensary.