Some Oregon Cities And Towns Want To Ramp Up Enforcement Against Medical Marijuana 'Dispensaries'
I recently wrote an article about medical marijuana storefronts or 'dispensaries' in Oregon, and later that day an article was published on Oregon's most popular news site, Oregonlive.com. Oregon Sky Foundation applied as a non-profit to open a medical marijuana facility in Oregon City and was denied. According to Oregonlive.com, "City Manager David Frasher concluded that the center would violate federal law, which classifies marijuana as an illegal substance."
Oregon City plans to grant the license on appeal, yet will revoke it in 2012 under a proposed change in city code. As a result, Oregon Sky Foundation will have to look for a different location. The article broke down how Oregon City was able to fight the medical marijuana facility:
"Hearings officer Daniel Kearns said the city could deny the license if it determined the marijuana center was "dangerous to public health, safety, welfare or is likely to become ... a menace or public nuisance." But Kearns said city officials had not shown Oregon Sky was a real or potential nuisance.
So last week, city commissioners decided to close the loophole. Commissioners voted Dec. 7 on a proposal that would have put the new rules into effect immediately. The change requires unanimous approval. Commissioner Kathy Roth opposed the revision.
"I certainly do not want Oregon Sky or any other medical marijuana facility to move into Oregon City," Roth said. "This is changing the rules in the middle of the game. I am not comfortable writing ordinances for one business. I know at times this is necessary, but I feel it walks a very fine edge of violating constitutional rights."
Under the new rules, the city could yank Oregon Sky's license early next year. The commission now must hold a second hearing and pass the ordinance a second time. The hearing will be held in January."
I kind of wrote this off as being an isolated Clackamas County Oregon thing. However, earlier today while I was looking at Google News I saw another article about the City of Rogue River contemplating an ordinance. Here is the story copied below from OPB News, courtesy of the Medford Mail Tribune:
Rogue River Ponders Ways To Control Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
By Howard Huntington
ROGUE RIVER -- The city may try pre-empting any future attempts to legally dispense medical marijuana in town.
Last year, a 57 percent majority of voters statewide said no to allowing nonprofit dispensaries for medical marijuana. Medical card-holding victims of cancer, glaucoma and certain other conditions would have to continue growing their own cannabis or find an approved grower.
Federal law still regards most uses of marijuana as illegal, and agents raided a growing operation -- said by the property owner to be legitimate under state law -- in September in the Gold Hill area.
In an unrelated case, the manager of a medical marijuana clinic in Grants Pass was sentenced in November to 16 months in prison for growing more marijuana than state law allowed, and selling it.
Rogue River has two such clinics. Under state law, approved clinics may help patients apply for medical marijuana cards and find a grower, but they're forbidden to provide marijuana.
"We're not talking about any existing businesses" in Rogue River, City Planner Lois DeBenedetti said. "What (the city Planning Commission) is thinking of being is proactive, and talking about the dispensaries now because they have heard all of this news about California and all the dispensaries they're trying to close." Californians also said no to more liberal marijuana laws last year.
"Of course, our attorney said, Well, it's not really necessary; they (dispensaries) are illegal in Oregon anyway,' " DeBenedetti said. "And the Planning Commission said, We know. We want to talk about having something on the books.'
"Right now, the only discussion is dispensaries," DeBenedetti continued. "They have talked a little bit about how close grow operations can be to schools. I think they feel the federal and the state laws are confusing and the medical marijuana law in Oregon is not enforced by anybody.
"If there are some city regulations on the books, maybe that's a better way to handle it and be proactive for your own city," DeBenedetti said.
Despite federal and state law, "you never know," said City Administrator Mark Reagles. "There's always the possibility that somebody will try. If the ordinance is in place, we have all the groundwork set."
If and when Oregon votes to legalize dispensaries, that law would supersede the ordinance, according to the city's attorney, Steve Rich. But if the law also allows, the city could control the locations of dispensaries.
One of the two Rogue River clinics, the Herbal Pain Management Resource Center, stirred some debate when it moved to 100 Depot St., but Police Chief Ken Lewis said he hasn't heard any further complaints, or had any problems with either clinic.
Rogue River is deep in the heart of Oregon marijuana growing country. Anyone who is curious how prevalent medical marijuana is in Southern Oregon, just look at OMMP statistics and population statistics of Oregon counties and do the math. If they are looking to put together an ordinance, imagine what will happen in Washington County. Those guys are all about reefer madness down there!