Marijuana dispensary appeals Medford decision

It's a showdown with city over business license revocation

A Medford marijuana dispensary that had its business license revoked has sent an appeal to the city, setting the stage for a potential legal showdown that could have statewide ramifications.

MaryJane's Attic and MaryJane's Basement in the WinCo shopping center sent a certified letter to Finance Director Alison Chan appealing Deputy City Manager Bill Hoke's revocation of its business license because of unlawfully dispensing medical marijuana.

The city has yet to receive a copy of the letter in the mail, officials said.

The owners of the businesses, Richard and Marlene Nuckols, have hired Portland attorney Leland Berger, who has defended other high-profile marijuana cases in the state.

Berger has asked the city to provide any information that was gathered as the basis to revoke the business license.

The city is relying on Medford City Code Section 8.003(3), which states that an existing licensed business that engages in illegal activity will have its license revoked. The ban on conducting business lasts for one year.

Berger said it's too early to say whether he would appeal this case to the courts if the city upholds the revocation.

"Time will tell," he said.

Medford police Chief Tim George said he hasn't seen a copy of the appeal yet.

"I wouldn't discuss the appeal until the appeal happens," he said.

Rep. Peter Buckley, an Ashland Democrat who sponsored House Bill 3460 that provides a framework for establishing medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state, said it is still unlawful to run a dispensary until the bill takes effect next March.

"There's nothing in the bill that grandfathers in these places," he said.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has endorsed HB 3460.

In a letter sent to Buckley on June 10, she said 150 medical marijuana facilities operate in Oregon without regulation or a license.

"The facilities operate in a climate of uncertain legality, and the absence of a clear regulatory structure makes ensuring compliance with the law difficult," she wrote.

Rosenblum said the law would provide safeguards to ensure marijuana is grown legally under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. The safeguards also would ensure the marijuana ends up in the hands of registered medical marijuana cardholders, she said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or follow him on Twitter at reporterdm.

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