Medford bans medical marijuana dispensaries

Medford bans medical marijuana dispensaries
FILE - This April 21, 2011 file photo shows marijuana growing in the home of two medical marijuana patients in Medford, Ore. The city of Medford says it will not give business licenses to medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits, despite a new state law authorizing them that is set to go into effect in March 2014. A city ordinance prohibits business licenses for businesses that violate federal law. (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard, File)

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — This southern Oregon city will not allow medical marijuana dispensaries to do business in the city limits, despite a new state law permitting its sale through pot shops.

The Medford City Council revoked the license of a dispensary called Maryjane's Attic a few weeks ago, The Mail Tribune reported Tuesday. The owners have appealed.

The action followed the council's expansion last month of an ordinance banning licenses to businesses that violate local, state or federal law.

"I don't see how you could license unlawful activity," Police Chief Tim George said.

After police raided three other medical marijuana dispensaries in May, the city pulled their business licenses.

State Rep. Peter Buckley, an Ashland Democrat who helped craft the law scheduled to go into effect in March, said he hopes cities will hold off imposing their own restrictions on dispensaries until the state finishes ironing out the law's specifics.

"A wild card thrown into this is that the Legislature also passed a bill to regulate (genetically modified) crops," Buckley said. "It regulates all products of seeds at the state level. We're asking counsel to see whether that law would preclude a city or county from regulating medical marijuana."

Until the dispensary law was enacted, Oregon's 55,000 medical marijuana cardholders had to grow their own pot or find someone to grow it for them. Growers could only be paid for their expenses, such as electricity and fertilizer, and not for their labor or make a profit. Some dispensaries operated in a legal gray area, particularly in the Portland area.

The new law was designed to make it easier for cardholders, especially those too old or too sick to grow their own, to get marijuana for their illnesses and to reduce the temptation for growers to sell on the black market.

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Information from: Mail Tribune

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