PHOENIX — The Greenery has stopped dispensing medical marijuana after the city filed a restraining order to force the downtown business to comply with city law.
Executive Director Andrea Adams said Greenery managers didn't want to jeopardize their case when they fight the city's injunction against them Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court.
"We really are trying to be in it for the long haul and serve as many patients as possible, so it was important we were able to walk into court on Monday at least complying with that (restraining) order," Adams said.
Patient Cathy Freeman, who takes medical marijuana to ease the symptoms of cancer, said she felt "immediately helpless" when she heard the news.
"I don't think they understand that this is life or death for some people," she said, fighting back tears. "I'm in a fight for my life. I'm not here to fight for something that is recreational for me.
"Cannabis is the one thing I've been able to count on that helps me to remain functional and emotionally able to keep working and living my life and spending the rest of my time doing the research to continue to fight this. To not be able to get the medication that helps me ... is unfathomable. It's inhumane."
City Manager Steve Dahl said he sympathized with patients but the council ordered that the one-year moratorium be enforced.
The Oregon Legislature in 2013 approved a measure allowing medical marijuana dispensaries, but after city officials across the state raised concerns, legislators agreed to allow them to impose a moratorium of up to one year before establishing local rules.
The Greenery had been dispensing marijuana at 310 N. Main St. in Phoenix since January without a state license.
It previously operated in Ashland for about two years.
Greenery managers said they now have a provisional license from the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program that will become a full license once the state signs off on security cameras they installed recently. The OMMP program won't verify whether a dispensary has a provisional license, a spokeswoman said Thursday.
Adams and volunteer staff of The Greenery are spending this week explaining the closure to patients and offering advice on obtaining medication elsewhere.
Freeman, a graphic designer who runs her own business in Ashland, said cannabis capsules taken at bedtime are the only thing that eases the pain and other symptoms from cancer in her liver and stomach.
Ashland resident Dennis Galegos, a client of The Greenery, blamed public perception for issues facing local dispensaries.
"All of these people seem to have these images of druggies hanging out front, smoking, hanging in the alleys," Galegos said.
"It's just not the case. And the really stupid thing is, at the end of the day, there will be dispensaries," he said. "The state government already said there would be medical cannabis. So all these cities are wasting time and money to fight the inevitable for the next year. And all for what? To keep medicine from patients who need it?"
Dahl said the injunction hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court.
Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.