MEDFORD, Ore. – As the state prepares to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries, some cities are fighting back. Medford and Tualatin both plan to try and stop dispensaries within city limits. Now, Rules Advisory Committee members are debating how to respond.
Monday, the Rules Advisory Committee that forms dispensary laws will discuss, among other things, what the regulations will be for cities like Medford that do not want dispensaries within city limits.
It’s an issue that has local advocates worried.
“It’s our right as citizens to open a state sanctioned business that runs according to rules and regulations just like a pharmacy does,” said Tim Shoeneberg, owner of the Southern Oregon Community Center and Clinics. “We have the right to do that.”
Multiple Medford city councilmembers confirmed they’re prepared to go as far as seeking litigation to defend their ability to deny business licenses to dispensaries in the city on the grounds that marijuana is federally banned.
But the US Department of Justice released a memo in August saying that federal prosecution against state laws isn’t a priority. According to the memo, “enforcement of state law by state and local law enforcement… Should remain the primary means of addressing marijuana-related activity.”
While the Department of Justice still has the authority to intervene, it will also allow states like Washington and Colorado to legalize recreational marijuana.
The condition is that states regulate it properly, but advocates say that’s exactly what they’re trying to do.
“It’s bothersome that this industry has been targeted and demonized, so to say, because of its past,” said Shoeneberg.
The Rules Advisory Committee meets in Salem at 9:00am Monday.