ASHLAND, Ore. — A new Ashland restaurant is offering up a lot more than just barbeque – the dish can come with medical marijuana. It’s set to open up Friday morning, but Ashland Police are saying, ‘not so fast.’
The Earth Dragon Edibles Restaurant and Lounge is the first of its kind in Southern Oregon, offering marijuana-laced food on its menu. Owners say they’re trying to provide a way for patients to get medication through food instead of smoking it.
Co-Owner Kevin Wallace says patients can find comfort in marijuana-laced food and feel free from pain by eating at his restaurant.
“People need to learn that you don’t need to smoke it. You can eat it,” Wallace explains. it’s a feeling that Wallace knows firsthand.
“I got injured in ’97,” says Wallace, “I was on a lot of pain pills, and muscle-relaxers, and I had to get off of that. It just wasn’t healthy. I switched to medical marijuana and now I’m walking, doing a lot better.”
Wallace plans to charge the same for food items, medicated or not. That means he will be absorbing whatever expense it costs him to use marijuana in the food.
“There are just too many gray areas,” says Wallace. “So, our food is cut and dry. The medicine’s free. There is no charge whatsoever.”
But police say it doesn’t matter if the weed is free or not.
“[Hypothetically], If I’m neither caregiver or grower, then under medical marijuana law or Oregon law, if I give them marijuana in any form, it’s furnishing a drug which is against the law,” states Ashland Police Chief Terry Holderness
Wallace says, under “indirect reimbursement”, he can operate his business. “Indirect reimbursement” is when a grower can’t produce enough medical marijuana and gets help from another source. Wallace says the same concept is applied to give back to patients, but in restaurant form.
“It’s a very complicated law,” explains Chief Holderness. “If they open, and we’ll probably talk to them, and we’ll see what they’re doing, and we’ll talk to the district attorney to see if they agree that it’s in compliance with law. If they don’t, then they won’t be able to operate their business.”
The police chief says he will talk to the city attorney about indirect reimbursement and with the restaurant’s lawyer before it opens.
Patients must show their medical marijuana card to eat marijuana-laced food at the restaurant. It’s set to open Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Ashland on Siskiyou Boulevard.