The bring-your-own-marijuana model brought too few customers for Earth Dragon Edibles Restaurant & Lounge to stay in business.

The bring-your-own-marijuana model brought too few customers for Earth Dragon Edibles Restaurant & Lounge to stay in business.

The pot cafe closed July 31 after a summer's worth of slow business drained its funding, said restaurant co-owner and vice president Kevin Wallace.

Initially, the restaurant opened April 27 exclusively to serve Oregon Medical Marijuana Program cardholders meals laced with cannabis-infused grapeseed oil and other "medible" treats.

The city of Ashland rejected the restaurant's initial business license the next week, concluding the operation was illegal, and forced it to close.

Earth Dragon was allowed to reopen with a new business license May 7, which stated the restaurant wasn't exclusive to OMMP cardholders and required cardholders to bring their own pot for cooks to use at the restaurant.

"Being open to the general public really hurt us," Wallace said. "I don't think the medical cardholders felt comfortable anymore."

Before the switch, the restaurant was doing very well, said Wallace, who is now working to pay off about $10,000 in debt he accumulated from the restaurant.

"It's frustrating and it does hurt," he said. "The city of Ashland didn't shut us down, but it made us conform to their needs, and that hurt us."

Ashland police Chief Terry Holderness and then-City Attorney Dave Lohman expressed doubts about the legality of Earth Dragon's initial business model.

Before reopening with the new business license, Earth Dragon also offered an indoor marijuana smoking bar for OMMP cardholders.

Now, Wallace and restaurant co-owner and president Michael Shea are working to get rid of the rest of their cannabis-infused lollipops, cookies and ice cream with help from the Southern Oregon chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, Wallace said.

"We would have been fine if they just would have let us keep on doing what we were doing," Wallace said.

When Oregon does decide to support cafés offering pot-laced meals, Wallace said, he'll open again in Ashland or Medford.

Cannabis cafés have been opening around the state since 2009. Some have been targeted by law enforcement agencies.

Reach Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email swheeler@dailytidings.com.