- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) - Moving even before the Legislature completed action, the Medford City Council has voted for a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries.

More Oregon cities and counties are expected to follow suit as the state grants them the authority.

The Medford council voted Thursday night without giving notice to approve a moratorium, the Mail Tribune (https://bit.ly/1fe0C9m) reported.

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It will take another vote, on a second reading of the bill, to enact it formally.

On Friday morning, the state Senate approved giving local governments authority to keep out the dispensaries until May 2015.

The bill goes now to Gov. John Kitzhaber, who didn’t commit himself Friday to signing the bill. He praised the Legislature for reaching a compromise and said he would review the measure.

Local governments wanted permanent authority, but lawmakers didn’t go that far.

The Medford council was among the first last year to resist the Legislature’s action authorizing dispensaries.

The city argues that despite state action, marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Last fall, it revoked the business license of Mary Jane’s Attic and Mary Jane’s Basement, located in a shopping center.

The moratorium wasn’t on the council’s agenda Thursday, but City Attorney John Huttl sought it. “Everything is happening very quickly at the state, and we didn’t want to miss the boat,” he said.

Leland Berger, a Portland lawyer representing Mary Jane’s, said: “I’m surprised and disappointed.”

Berger said the moratorium was approved just hours before his clients were scheduled to appear before the council to appeal the revocation.

Mary Jane’s and other would-be dispensary operators applied this week to the Oregon Health Authority to register under the law allowing marijuana dispensaries.

Under the city’s moratorium, the city manager would notify the health authority of the ordinance so that the $4,000 registration fee could be returned to dispensary applicants.


Associated Press reporter Chad Garland in Salem contributed.


Information from: Mail Tribune, https://www.mailtribune.com/

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