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HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Forget pot dispensaries for now

Written March 7th, 2014 by Hasso Hering
Marijuana seized by the state police.

Back to business as usual: Illegal marijuana seized by the state police.

You can forget about legal dispensaries of medical marijuana in Oregon for the foreseeable future — unless voters approve legalization of the weed in the form of an initiative this fall. The state Senate voted this morning, 28-2, to go along with changes the House had made in SB 1531.

Assuming the governor signs the bill, cities and counties will now be able to block the establishment of medical marijuana stores by passing, by May 1, moratoriums that would last until May 1, 2015. Albany, Linn County and all other mid-valley jurisdictions are likely to make use of this provision. Any local jurisdiction that fails to do so would run the risk of becoming Marijuana Central in the valley, and which town or county would want that?

The delay in medical marijuana stores will give the 2015 legislature another chance to repeal their legalization completely. All mid-valley legislators supported the moratorium bill, which also subjects would-be weed store operators to criminal prosecution while the moratorium is in place. If any store operators have already paid their $4,000 initial registration fee to the state, the bill says they can ask for their money back.

The bill is a retreat from the 2013 law that allowed medical marijuana dispensaries under strict state regulations starting this spring. You have to ask yourself what happened to the House and Senate majorities that enacted that law last year? Well, they buckled under lobbying from the League of Oregon Cities and the Association of Oregon Counties.

It was a sensible idea to legalize and regulate the trade in medical marijuana in order to make illegal marijuana production less tempting and less profitable. But because of the cities and the counties, that sensible idea is now dead. And the illegal business will go on as before. (hh)



3 responses to “Forget pot dispensaries for now”

  1. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “It was a sensible idea to legalize and regulate the trade in medical marijuana in order to make illegal marijuana production less tempting and less profitable. But because of the cities and the counties, that sensible idea is now dead. And the illegal business will go on as before.”

    However, “sensible” cities & counties will not force a ban upon those folks who need safer access – as the original legislation would have allowed. Those cities that do ban them, better be ready to meet in court and spend their money…

  2. Roger says:

    Surely there will be cities that do not enact a ban. Which cities you ask? My 5 most likely would be Ashland, Sisters, Eugene, Portland and maybe Corvallis.

  3. Allie Spencer left this response on Facebook: “I’d rather Albany be medical marijuana country than what it is now: meth country. Marijuana is here, whether its legal or not and it’s less dangerous than alcohol and serves a purpose for so many people who suffer from chronic pain and neurological disorders. We should capitalize on its distribution and use the tax money collected to boost our police force and shut down the meth houses because that is actually a drug and its destroying the lives of so many of our neighbors. It’s sad to see so many pockmarked mugshots of kids just out of high school on Linn County Exposed because of meth.”

 

 
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