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  • Talent — marijuana's middle ground

    Green Valley Wellness, the first dispensary in town, opens today; two others may not be far behind
  • TALENT — A second medical marijuana dispensary in the Rogue Valley, Green Valley Wellness, opens its doors at 103 N. Pacific Highway at noon today. Most other area towns and Jackson County have imposed either one-year moratoriums or outright bans on the shops.
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  • TALENT — A second medical marijuana dispensary in the Rogue Valley, Green Valley Wellness, opens its doors at 103 N. Pacific Highway at noon today. Most other area towns and Jackson County have imposed either one-year moratoriums or outright bans on the shops.
    "Everyone but Gold Hill and Talent have had an issue with it," said Peter Gross, chief operating officer of Green Valley Wellness LLC.
    Unlike in other areas, public opposition to dispensaries has not surfaced in Talent. In Gold Hill, where Breeze Botanicals opened June 9, council members who voted for approval are now targets of a recall effort.
    The Talent City Council in April did enact a moratorium until Dec. 31 to further study the issue, but it allowed three applications already received to move ahead.
    Green Valley will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Gross, CEO Michael Monarch and two employees will staff the business initially.
    Potential customers have stopped by regularly to ask about the opening date as the partners and contractors remodeled the space, said Monarch.
    "Baby boomers are getting into it. They want to be comfortable," said Monarch. Frosted windows in the building, which faces the highway, will help ensure privacy.
    New patients will register in a reception area separate from the 1,000-square-foot display and sales area. Oregon medical marijuana cards and photo identification are required for the one-time registration.
    In addition to processed medical marijuana, the dispensary will offer plant starts up to 12 inches tall and marijuana-infused confections and baked goods. Information on the latest research on medical marijuana will be available in a reading area.
    Remodeling included installation of two commercial safes and security systems, including 24-hour video surveillance, alarms and panic buttons for workers.
    Gross said he felt the business was treated like any other by city officials in meeting requirements for a license and remodeling permits.
    To acquire its state license, Gross and Monarch sent in nearly 100 photos documenting their efforts. An on-site inspection by the state will be conducted within six months of opening.
    Marijuana will cost from $5 to $12 per gram. Price is based on quality, variety and whether it was grown indoors or outdoors. Indoor marijuana usually costs more because there are higher production costs, less yield and generally higher quality, said Gross.
    The shop will buy marijuana from growers at times yet to be set in a separate area with its own entrance. Purchased marijuana will be screened initially for mold and mildew before it is sent to KVR Labs in Jacksonville for additional testing. State-required tests look for mildew, mold and the presence of four pesticides.
    Growers have told the pair they will be relieved to have a legal way to sell their product.
    "We don't really have a precedent for this sort of thing. They are an industry that has really been an outlaw industry," said Gross. "(This) brings that out of the shadow into the light."
    The Talent Health Club has already received both its state and city licenses, said Zac Moody, community development director. The shop will be at 1007 S. Pacific Highway. Owner Jamin Griersbach could not immediately be reached for further comment on when it might open.
    Grateful Meds expects to sign a lease on a Highway 99 location within a week, said Brent Kenyon, who also owns Southern Oregon Alternative Medicine in Medford. The city will issue a license once a pending state license is issued, said City Manager Tom Corrigan.
    Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.
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