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MailTribune.com
  • Phoenix town hall tackles medical pot issue

    A medical marijuana dispensary will be in court today to fight citations over lack of a business license
  • Medical marijuana will take center stage in Phoenix today.
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  • Medical marijuana will take center stage in Phoenix today.
    A Phoenix medical marijuana dispensary will challenge 33 citations issued by the city for failure to have a business license. The issue will be heard at 3 p.m. in Phoenix Municipal Court.
    A few hours later, at 6:30 p.m., a town hall meeting on the issue of medical marijuana will be held at the Phoenix High School Rose Theater, 745 N. Rose St.
    The city distributed 1,000 fliers around town asking people to come to the town hall.
    Dr. Wendell Heidinger, a Klamath Falls pain specialist, will give a presentation on the pros and cons of medical marijuana. Others will talk about safe access to medical marijuana and testing labs.
    City Manager Steve Dahl said the city wants to provide neutral information about the issue.
    "We are trying to be as equal and unbiased as we possibly can," he said.
    The Greenery office manager Melanie Barniskis said the dispensary has received 33 citations. At first the citations carried a $500 fine, but city officials lowered the amount to $100 each after realizing they made a mistake, she said.
    The Greenery, which estimates it provides medical marijuana to half of the more than 7,000 patients in Jackson County, continues to operate without a business license.
    The Phoenix City Council recently voted to place a four-month moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries.
    Patients and medical marijuana advocates are conducting a petition drive seeking to overturn the moratorium.
    The city delayed enacting the moratorium until Gov. John Kitzhaber signed Senate Bill 1531, which gives cities the authority to pass moratoriums on dispensaries for up to a year.
    Kitzhaber signed the Senate bill Wednesday afternoon.
    The city of Medford enacted a permanent moratorium, making it retroactive to March 1. Jackson County has approved a 120-day moratorium and is holding a public hearing at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 2, to discuss whether to extend the moratorium until May 2015.
    Dispensaries have applied for licenses from the Oregon Health Authority after House Bill 3460's rules became effective March 3.
    The Greenery held off filing an application for a state license until issues with the moratorium are settled.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.
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