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MailTribune.com
  • Marijuana dispensary recall in Gold Hill progresses

    Signatures forwarded to county Elections Office for verification process
  • GOLD HILL — Citizens who want to recall two-thirds of the city council for voting to allow medical marijuana dispensaries submitted more than the required number of signatures to call for a special election in August.
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  • GOLD HILL — Citizens who want to recall two-thirds of the city council for voting to allow medical marijuana dispensaries submitted more than the required number of signatures to call for a special election in August.
    City recorder Mary Goddard confirmed signatures were submitted Thursday and forwarded to the Jackson County Elections office for verification.
    Deb West, a budget committee member who moved to the city three years ago, spearheaded the effort in June after she said council members ignored residents' concerns over a planned marijuana dispensary.
    West targeted her efforts against the four council members who voted to lift a citywide moratorium on marijuana facilities, which enabled Breeze Botanicals to open.
    Council members Margaret Dials, Lorraine Parks, Doug Reischman and Gus Wolf voted in favor of the dispensary and are facing recall while council members Donna Silva and Chris Stanley voted against lifting the moratorium.
    "The only reason this thing was filed is because the city counselors failed to listen to the citizens of Gold Hill, the people who elected them," West said Friday.
    "So if they can't listen, then the people who elected them deserve a chance to take them out of office and vote for some people who will listen. It was their job as public officials to listen to what the citizens wanted."
    City recorder Mary Goddard confirmed that required signatures for filing of a recall election were submitted Thursday. With 63 signatures required for the matter to be taken to a vote, nearly a dozen extra names were submitted for each council member.
    Once signatures are verified, which Jackson County Elections clerk Chris Walker said would take place next week, council members facing recall will have five days to decide whether to resign or to have citizens decide via special election.
    Under state law, an election must take place within 35 days of recall subjects being notified.
    Council members Parks and Wolf did not immediately return calls seeking comment, while Dials and Reischman stood by the council's decision.
    Dials said she would not resign and took issue with the recall process being misused. With recall procedures in place for criminal violations and unethical behavior, Dials said "disagreeing with how the council voted" did not justify a recall process.
    "The recall paperwork said that the council did not listen to the people who testified, but there were a lot of people who testified and we took in a lot of information beyond the meetings," Dials said.
    "If you disagree with somebody, that's not really a recallable offense as long as what you're doing is reasonable and you're working hard to do the right thing for your community."
    Dials pointed to a 5 percent tax on marijuana sales at the new dispensary, slated for funding of public safety, and said that "all the doom and gloom predicted" with the opening of Breeze Botanicals "simply did not happen."
    Reischman said the council upheld the intentions of state lawmakers who legalized medical marijuana in 1998.
    "I'm sorry you don't understand the process of what the legislature said to do, but that's what we did," Reischman said in an email.
    Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffyp76@yahoo.com.
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