PHOENIX, Ore. – A passionate crowd reacted as the Phoenix City Council delivered a temporary blow to medical marijuana dispensaries. In a 4-2 vote, the council agreed to put a four-month hold on dispensaries.
They say it isn’t a ban, but a stalling tactic.
“If we need to change our business ordinances, we’ll need to do that. If we need to change any references to abiding by federal law, we would have to do that,” said Phoenix Mayor Jeff Bellah. “It’s a lot more complicated than it seems.”
That vote will have a direct effect on one of the city’s downtown businesses. The Greenery is one of around 200 medical marijuana facilities already operating in Oregon. Now it is among 18 in Jackson County to apply as a dispensary.
The moratorium will mean it has to close for four months, assuming it doesn’t fight.
“A group of citizens in Phoenix are prepared to file a referendum tomorrow and collect signatures,” said Andrea Adams, Executive Director of The Greenery. “That’s where we’re going to go from here is more pushing this bucket down the road.”
And while the bucket gets pushed, city leaders will meet with experts, watch other cities, and consult with law enforcement. They say they’ll either adjust their laws to account for dispensaries or take a more drastic approach to restrict them.
Meanwhile, patients in Phoenix say all they can do is wait.
“We’ll go without,” said Tere Knight, an OMMP patient and Phoenix resident. “Unless they have another place to go, which I don’t know of.”
City leaders in Phoenix say the moratorium doesn’t have to last four months if they can come up with zoning ordinances and laws accommodating dispensaries before then.