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No vote needed: Ontario City Council can act on its own to approve pot dispensaries

ONTARIO – It turns out the Ontario City Council doesn’t need voter approval to authorize marijuana dispensaries in town.

According to Scott Winkels, a lobbyist for the League of Oregon Cities, the council could repeal its existing ordinance that bans marijuana dispensaries to allow the facilities in town. No public vote would be needed.

Previously, city officials told the Malheur Enterprise that the council could repeal the ban but only a public vote would pave the way for dispensaries to open and be taxed.

Winkels said that was based on an earlier version of Oregon law mandating the public vote. Last year, the Legislature revised the law to strip out that requirement, leaving local governments free to repeal any ban and permit dispensaries to open.

That revision states that “the governing body of the city or county may amend . . .