PHOENIX — After a heated and "confusing" discussion on marijuana cultivation, the City Council will rein in its horses until the Oregon Legislature provides some direction.
Mayor Jeff Bellah said the council may consider a moritorium on further decisions about medical pot cultivation and dispensaries inside the city limits. The council will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 3, at the Public Works Office, at 1000 S. B St.
Bellah said holding the two-part focus of Tuesday's three-hour meeting — dispensaries and cultivation of medical marijuana — was a mistake, saying it was "too confusing" for council members.
The city would be best served, he said, by waiting for state legislators to release its rules for House Bill 3460, the bill that authorizes medical marijuana facilities in Oregon.
Supporters of a local patient resource center said the Tuesday meeting only added to confusion for city officials and residents.
Bellah, who became visibly agitated with council members during the meeting, said he was frustrated with repeated discussions about the validity of medical marijuana, when it is the city's "job is to determine what to allow and not allow inside city limits."
Bellah told audience members he was confident that state lawmakers would not micromanage individual cities when it comes to backyard growers and dispensaries.
"I've spoken with our representatives, and it sounds like the Legislature has a bill introduced for this next month ... to reaffirm that cities have home rule rights, and the state cannot tell us what businesses we must accept," Bellah said.
"So until February's legislative session is over, we won't know what gets through. So it would be foolish to try and decide something now. A lot of cities are pretty upset with the notion that there's any state law that seems to be telling us what we can do in our own cities."
Andrea Adams, co-owner of The Greenery, said she takes issue with city officials' repeated use of the term "dispensary." Adams, who opened what she identifies as a patient resource center in recent months, said she would be unaffected by discussion of dispensaries, "which aren't allowed anywhere in Oregon and won't be allowed even after March."
"We are a patient resource center and have always been a patient resource center, so they can go ahead and issue a moratorium on dispensaries all they want to. It won't affect us, because we don't run one," Adams said.
"What (the mayor) is talking about happening in March is the licensing process for medical marijuana facilities, which we hope to get registered to operate."
Adams said she planned to meet with her attorney Wednesday to discuss her options. City officials refused to issue her a business license because of confusion about whether the city should allow businesses that violate federal law.
Adams said her resource center has been issued citations nearly every day for "up to $500."
Information online by the Oregon Health Authority provides final temporary rules that will be in effect when state officials begin accepting license applications March 3 for medical marijuana facilities. Its web address is: www.oregon.gov/oha/Pages/medicalmarijuanadispensaries.aspx.
Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.