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Medford’s Authority Over Marijuana Dispensaries Challenged
Medford’s Authority Over Marijuana Dispensaries Challenged

Legislators who sponsored a medical marijuana dispensary law say that House Bill 3460 does not allow cities to ban such dispensaries, only to assert some local controls over hours of operation and location.

Medford toughened its codes ahead of HB 3460, banning any business engaged in activity deemed unlawful under federal, state or local law. Other cities are considering similar ordinances citing federal law to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

The U.S. Attorney General has stated that although marijuana is a controlled substance under federal law, states with medical marijuana laws will not be prosecuted as long as there is no money laundering, sales to minors or growing on public lands.

The League of Oregon Cities, representing all 242 municipalities in Oregon, endorsed HB 3460 with the understanding that it would permit local control over medical marijuana dispensaries. This appears to be at odds with the current language in the 11-page House Bill which mentions no such control provisions. The Oregon Health Authority is the sole regulating body for the dispensaries, with licensing from the Secretary of State’s Office.

Legislators are asking cities to wait until the rule-making process for HB 3460 is completed prior to the law taking effect in March 2014.