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Counties Face Dispensary Choice

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RUCH, Ore. – As local cities vote yes or no on dispensaries, residents of rural areas are left to wonder about their options.

Some residents say they wonder if they’re even needed.

“If anyone needs marijuana they just talk to their neighbor,” said Ruch resident Riot Schechter.

“There’s also the price of gas, that’s a big thing. And living way out here we know what it’s like to have to drive to town,” added Applegate resident Arlene Aron.

Right now Jackson County doesn’t have a single ordinance directly governing dispensaries.

That’s something county commissioners say they’ll have to consider – if a dispensary ever applies in one of the county’s unincorporated towns.

“As far as the county zoning regulations, I think we’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it,” said County Commissioner John Rachor.

But while rural areas are still up in the air, the rest of the area is taking shape.

In Medford, councilors plan to vote for an indefinite ban, while Phoenix and Shady Cove have banned dispensaries for four months in order to buy more time. Eagle point, Gold Hill, and Jacksonville haven’t outright voted for bans but say they won’t be issuing business licenses either.

For now, Ashland and Central Point are the only towns in Jackson County allowing them.

Meanwhile Klamath and Josephine counties are waiting to make their decisions.

But while leaders around the area get ready to visit the issue one at a time, Jackson County commissioners say it probably won’t matter. They see the same scenario playing out either way.

“I see kind of a land rush going on, especially in Ashland, of people trying to get their spot open,” said Rachor. “I think that’s where the focus is going to be, people picking the good spots.”