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  • Medford upholds revocation of pot shop's license

    Medical marijuana patients fail to sway City Council members to let Mary Jane's keep its business license
  • An impassioned group of medical marijuana patients couldn't dissuade the Medford City Council on Thursday from unanimously upholding the revocation of the business license of Mary Jane's Attic and Basement.
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  • An impassioned group of medical marijuana patients couldn't dissuade the Medford City Council on Thursday from unanimously upholding the revocation of the business license of Mary Jane's Attic and Basement.
    "Every day of my life I pray that stores like Mary Jane's are in my life," said Jeffrey L. Asbury, a Medford man who has debilitating back and joint problems.
    Asbury said he doesn't smoke marijuana to get high, but eats an edible form of the plant to help him deal with his pain.
    Before Mary Jane's Attic, Asbury said he was forced to buy marijuana on the street.
    The City Council held a public hearing on an appeal by Mary Jane's after city Finance Director Alison Chan decided to revoke Mary Jane's business license. After almost three hours of testimony and legal arguments, the council decided to uphold the business license revocation.
    Richard and Marlene Nuckols, the owners of the business, previously have vowed to take the issue to the courts if necessary.
    Almost 50 people turned up for the hearing, including veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or other health conditions that were improved through the use of medical marijuana.
    Lindsey Rinehart, a medical marijuana patient, said she moved to Talent last year and acknowledged that she purchased $100 worth of pot in a park. The marijuana turned out to be bad, she said.
    "I learned an expensive lesson," Rinehart said.
    She eventually got a medical marijuana card and went to Mary Jane's. With little money, she said the Nuckols have been more than sympathetic to her and others.
    "These people have given me my medicine for free on more than one occasion," she said.
    Rinehart and other medical marijuana users said Mary Jane's offers safe access to obtain their medicine rather than trying to obtain it on the street.
    The Nuckols generally receive compensation to pay the growers for the costs of cultivating the plants and also ask for a donation to cover their costs for the business, though the donation isn't required.
    Occasionally, emotions ran high during the meeting.
    Kenneth Purkapile said, "I've never been so disgraced as a Vietnam veteran at the backward thinking of this city to revoke the business license."
    Councilors listened attentively to the testimony as well as the legal positions of the Nuckols' Portland attorney, Leland Berger, and Deputy City Attorney Kevin McConnell.
    McConnell said the city doesn't have to weigh the merits of marijuana as a medicine. He said the city views Mary Jane's as operating illegally under Oregon laws as well as federal laws.
    McConnell said a medical marijuana patients is supposed to receive his medicine from a designated grower. However, Mary Jane's allowed medical marijuana patients to buy marijuana without regard to a particular grower.
    Under the city's reading of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, certified caregivers should only provide marijuana to a specific cardholder.
    However, House Bill 3460, which was rolled out on Monday, allows dispensaries to provide medical marijuana to any patient.
    "Under 3460, Mary Jane's provided medicine to patients," McConnell said. "Under federal law, they are drug dealing."
    Berger, the Nuckols attorney, said the Nuckols were not in violation of state law.
    "These people were giving medicine," he said. "They were not selling dope."
    Berger said the federal government isn't interested in prosecuting people who adhere to Oregon law. He told the council that District Attorney Beth Heckert decided not to prosecute the Nuckols after law enforcement conducted controlled buys.
    "It's about the city trying to use the federal law to avoid following the state law," Berger said.
    Councilor Chris Corcoran said he has had relatives suffering from cancer who used marijuana for their symptoms.
    However, he said he took an oath of office to uphold all the laws, including federal laws.
    "The Legislature is to blame," he said. "They put us in a heck of a mess."
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.
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