The Nov. 6 election will mark the third time in three years voters in a Union County town will decide on a marijuana ordinance specific to their city.
Voters in North Powder and Union passed anti-marijuana ordinances in 2016, and soon those in Imbler will have a chance to do the same via Measure 31-97.
The measure would create an ordinance prohibiting the sale, production and processing of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes within Imbler’s city limits.
The city council voted in June to place the marijuana measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The biggest impact Measure 31-97 will have would be prohibiting the production and processing of marijuana in Imbler, according to Imbler Mayor Mike McLean. Although Oregon voters legalized the sale of recreational marijuana by passing Measure 91 in 2014, the sale of it has remained illegal in Imbler because all land in the city limits is within 1,000 feet of its schools. State law prohibits recreational or medical marijuana from being sold within 1,000 feet of a school.
Still, the door remains open for marijuana to be processed and grown in Imbler. This was evident in the spring of 2017 when a La Grande entrepreneur expressed interest in opening a medical marijuana processing plant in Imbler.
The businessman decided against pursuing the project after determining it would be too expensive to open a plant in Imbler. He told the city council none of the available commercially zoned land in Imbler where a medical marijuana processing plant could operate had an existing building that could house a processing plant, and it wasn’t financially feasible to pay for the construction of a new building.
See more in Friday's edition of The Observer.