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Ontario council approves pot rules with larger buffer zones that include private parks

ONTARIO – Before a packed house, the Ontario City Council Tuesday approved larger buffer zones for marijuana businesses in anticipation of a Nov. 6 vote that could allow them in the city.

The action reversed the council’s stand from last week on buffer zones and other restrictions.

Tuesday’s meeting ended with the council approving a slate of land-use regulations for marijuana stores that could be made legal by the citywide vote. Voters in Oregon approved the legalization of recreational marijuana in November 2014, but Malheur County including Ontario opted out of retail sales.

The approval culminated months of debate capped by lengthy testimony Tuesday evening. City Planning Director Dan Cummings read 13 letters from residents, business owners and potential retail investors. Another 18 people testified at the meeting, both for and against the version of rules tentatively approved last . . .