Cannabis Coming Soon To Idaho Border Town? Voter Initiative In Ontario Looks To Legalize Weed

Jul 18, 2018

A voter initiative in Ontario, Oregon seeking to overturn a city ban on recreational marijuana and licensing dispensaries is collecting signatures.
Credit Dank Depot / Flickr

Marijuana sales could be coming to the Treasure Valley’s backyard. A group is collecting signatures in Ontario, Oregon to open the city up to a new recreational activity – and a new source of income.


The city of Ontario continues to struggle with its finances. Numerous consolidations have happened, and, at the start of July, several staff members were let go for budgetary reasons.

Pro-cannabis group MalheurCAN has a solution for the financial woes of the city. The group is pushing an initiative that would overturn Ontario’s ban on recreational weed and licensing dispensaries. It would include a new 3 percent sales tax on pot.

“The marijuana is estimated to bring in between $450,000 and maybe $750,000,” says Ron Verini, the mayor in Ontario.

He’s well aware of the draw marijuana outlets in the border town would have on Idaho residents.

“Anything new for a community, there’s going to be changes, there’s going to be unintended consequences,” Verini says. “Obviously we will have the challenges of people coming and carrying it back to Idaho where it is illegal.”

MalheurCAN needs to collect 825 valid signatures by August 7 to qualify for the ballot, according to the Argus Observer. Should the initiative pass, the Ontario City Council would decide where pot shops would be allowed in the town.

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