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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

More Than 70 Oregon Communities Ban Retail Marijuana Sales

Cannabis Training University
File photo. More than 70 communities in Oregon have moved to ban retail marijuana sales.

Oregon cities and counties have until December 27 to act if they want to ban retail marijuana sales. More than 70 communities have already put their names on that list.

Most, but not all of the cities and counties on the list are in rural eastern or southern Oregon. A few Portland suburbs are also on the list. Some local government officials objected to having to allow pot sales since despite the voter-approved ballot measure that legalized marijuana, it's still a violation of federal law.

Anthony Johnson, the chief petitioner of that initiative, thinks allowing some parts of the state to opt out is unfair.

"I think that's problematic for people in those communities who will be forced to travel, who will be forced into an illegal environment,” Johnson said.

Voters in nearly half of the communities on the opt out list will have a chance to overturn their local leaders' aversion to pot sales. That's because the moratorium in those places will need to be approved at the ballot next November in order to become permanent.