Albany won’t jump into trying to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries once they become legal under state law next spring, at least not right away. The city council Wednesday went along with advice it got from City Attorney Jim Delapoer to wait until legal questions about what cities can do under a new state law are settled.
On October 23 the council went along with a request by member Bessie Johnson to have Delapoer report on the options Albany would have under House Bill 3460, passed this year, which authorizes medical pot dispensaries. Johnson said at the time she didn’t want dispensaries in Albany. The Oregon Health Authority is writing regulations under the law, which it’s supposed to do by March 15, 2014.
Medford has decided to cancel or not grant business licenses to pot dispensaries on the grounds they violate federal law, but that action is likely to be challenged in court. The question is whether the legislature has preempted city regulation of dispensaries, and lawyers for the legislature say yes, it has. On Wednesday Delapoer suggested, and the council agreed, to do nothing until that legal question has been settled by others.
Also Wednesday, the council heard from two brothers who say they have legally operated a place, Albany Alternative Health Solutions, where medical marijuana card holders come to take the substance. Greg and Matt Bechtel offered to help the city draft any marijuana-related regulations if the need arises. They don’t sell marijuana, which would be illegal under state law now, but they legally grow it for medical card holders.
Greg, 36, and Matt, 37, both veterans, say they’ve invited the police to check them out, and officers have come to their place on Geary Street S.E. to do so. Mayor Sharon Konopa invited the brothers to stay in touch with Police Capt. Jeff Hinrichs to keep up with any further developments on city marijuana regulation. (hh)