Ore. Senate approves bill blocking pot dispensary ban

Sens. Jeff Kruse, center, R-Roseburg, and Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene listen to testimony from Leland Berger, left, a marijuana legalization advocate, at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Salem, Ore. The committee heard testimony focused on whether Oregon communities should be allowed to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. (AP Photo/Chad Garland)
Sens. Jeff Kruse, center, R-Roseburg, and Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene listen to testimony from Leland Berger, left, a marijuana legalization advocate, at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Salem, Ore. The committee heard testimony focused on whether Oregon communities should be allowed to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. (AP Photo/Chad Garland)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Senate has voted to make it illegal for cities and counties to block medical marijuana dispensaries from setting up shop.

The Senate unanimously approved the measure on Tuesday, but local government officials say they’re not done fighting.

What began as a measure to authorize city and county-level regulation and prohibition of the marijuana retailers was rewritten in a Senate committee last week. Now it would let local governments regulate the facilities but not prohibit them completely.

Proponents of local bans say they’ll take their fight to the House and, if necessary, the courts.

Nearly a dozen local governments in the state have imposed or are considering bans on medical pot stores.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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