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Cities struggle over pot retailers.

Byline: Josephine Woolington The Register-Guard

City councils in Lane County will be busy next month grappling with whether to temporarily ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

So far, two cities - Florence and Junction City - have passed moratoriums that will prevent people from opening up pot shops within the two cities for one year. Lane County commissioners and a handful of city councils are scheduled to discuss and vote on their proposed moratoriums in April.

The Creswell City Council will take on the issue at its Monday night work session. Councilors are scheduled to vote whether to enact a moratorium on April 7.

Creswell Mayor Dave Stram said a moratorium would give the council more time to get comments from residents and to consider what effects a dispensary in Creswell would have.

Stram said he is not aware of any dispensaries in Creswell but said there has been interest in opening one somewhere on Oregon Avenue, which runs through the city center.

Cities have until May 1 to temporarily ban medical marijuana dispensaries that are allowed under a law passed by the Legislature last year. The moratorium would expire on May 1, 2015, though cities could adopt shorter ones.

Cities could also consider regulating the location and operating hours of registered dispensaries, instead of a passing a moratorium.

Nearly 290 individuals or entities submitted applications to the state earlier this month for permission to legally sell medical marijuana to individuals with an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program card.

As of Friday, the Oregon Health Authority, which will oversee the dispensaries, had approved 22 dispensaries in the state, including five in Eugene. So far, Emerald City Medicinal at 1474 W. Sixth Ave., The Greener Side at 1553 Oak St., Oregon Medigreen at 570 Lawrence St., The Herbal Center at 463 River Ave., and Oregon Medicinal Alternatives at 388 Pearl St. have all been approved. The state also approved Wickit Weedery at 2600 Main St. in Springfield.

Twenty-seven dispensaries have applied to open in Eugene and six to open in Springfield.

The state is continuing to review applications. Besides the 22 applications that were approved, 42 will receive provisional licenses. Dispensaries that receive a provisional license cannot open for business until they have installed a state-approved security system. Thirty-nine other applications were denied for reasons ranging from incomplete information to facility locations that are within 1,000 feet of a licensed dispensary or a school.

Last week, Junction City councilors unanimously passed a moratorium that will be in effect until April 30, 2015. The temporary ban was "necessary for the immediate protection of the public, peace, health, safety, and welfare," the ordinance said.

Also last week, city councilors in Veneta last week rejected a moratorium in a 3-2 vote. The Springfield City Council was divided on the issue during a meeting last week and scheduled a public hearing on April 7.

Several citizens concerned about a moratorium in Springfield have emailed the mayor, city councilors and the assistant city manager. Portland-based chiropractor Kenneth Hempstead wrote to Assistant City Manager Jeff Towery, saying that "a moratorium eliminates both skilled and unskilled local positions and inhibits the growth of a new industry which could bring needed tax dollars to the Springfield community."

One person commented that temporarily banning medical marijuana dispensaries would encourage medical marijuana cardholders to find pot illegally.

The Coburg and Cottage Grove city councils are scheduled to discuss the issue later this month. The Eugene City Council is not scheduled to vote or discuss the issue anytime soon.

Follow Josephine on Twitter @j_woolington. Email


Creswell City Council: Discussion on Monday; vote on April 7

Coburg City Council: Vote on April 8

Cottage Grove City Council: Discussion April 14

Eugene City Council: No scheduled discussion or action

Lane County Commissioners: Public hearing, vote on April 1

Springfield City Council: Public hearing on April 7
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Title Annotation:Local News; More local governments could seek temporary bans on medical marijuana dispensaries
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 29, 2014
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