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  • Medford plans to strengthen pot-dispensary ban

  • The Medford City Council on Thursday will ramp up efforts to eradicate medical marijuana dispensaries and attempt to shut down a dispensary that is currently operating.
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  • The Medford City Council on Thursday will ramp up efforts to eradicate medical marijuana dispensaries and attempt to shut down a dispensary that is currently operating.
    At its noon meeting, the council is scheduled to adopt an ordinance that places a permanent moratorium on opening a dispensary in the city limits.
    The ordinance follows an effective ban placed on medical marijuana dispensaries adopted by the council last September in anticipation of House Bill 3460, which removed a legal gray area for the approximately 200 dispensaries that operated throughout the state.
    The moratorium also comes on the heels of Senate Bill 1531, which gives cities the option to place a one-year moratorium on dispensaries.
    In a separate issue, the council is expected to adopt a resolution revoking the business license of MaryJane's Attic and MaryJane's Basement, which dispenses medical marijuana.
    MaryJane's received a business license on March 9, 2012, from the city of Medford.
    Owner Richard Nuckols said he presented a business plan for both MaryJane's Attic and MaryJane's Basement.
    At the time, Nuckols said he and his wife, Marlene, sat down with police Chief Tim George, Deputy City Attorney Kevin McConnell and Finance Director Alison Chan to discuss the nature of the business.
    "We are trying to be as open and honest as we can," he said. "We told them there is a huge gap in people not being helped in the community."
    According to the business plan that Nuckols said he presented to the city, it states, "Many patients are not able to undertake the somewhat difficult task for growing medical cannabis, while many others find it difficult to find a grower and even harder to find a reliable one. MaryJane's Basement fills that need."
    After Nuckols and his wife, Marlene, received their business license, they applied for a separate business license for Cannafoods Inc. on April 23, 2012. The City Council on July 5, 2012, rejected the business license application for Cannafoods, but the MaryJane's Attic and Basement license remained in effect.
    City Finance Director Alison Chan held a hearing on Dec. 2, 2013, before making a determination to revoke MaryJane's business license. Chan's decision was appealed to the City Council.
    The city determined MaryJane's was engaged in unlawful activity in regard to federal law and state law.
    Under state law, the city's position is that a specific grower must be designated to provide marijuana to a specific patient.
    MaryJane's distributes marijuana from any possible caregiver, or grower, to any possible cardholder, which becomes permissible under House Bill 3460, according to the city attorney.
    MaryJane's Portland attorney, Leland Berger, argues that under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, it is permissible for any caregiver to provide medical marijuana to a cardholder.
    Medford police conducted four controlled buys at MaryJane's, but District Attorney Beth Heckert declined to prosecute.
    Nuckols said he plans to appeal the City Council's revocation of his business license to Jackson County Circuit Court.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.
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