BROWNSVILLE — A committee researching medical marijuana dispensaries will recommend that Brownsville develop a business registration process that would prohibit a dispensary from operating within the city limits.
The committee, which met Tuesday, will suggest a process that includes language requiring business applicants “to be in compliance with federal, state and local laws,” said Scott McDowell, city administrator.
Councilors will take up the issue at their next meeting at 7 p.m. July 22.
Medical marijuana dispensaries are legal in Oregon, but marijuana still is classified as illegal under federal law.
“Members felt that this option will provide the city with many benefits, including the preservation of the health and safety of the business community in Brownsville and allow for better administration of the city’s zoning code,” McDowell said in a statement Wednesday about the decision.
McDowell said the November election, which appears very likely to include a ballot measure on full legalization of the drug, makes marijuana an uncertain issue for the city right now. Nor does the city want to risk losing access to federal funds with the need for a new water treatment plant on the horizon.
“Committee members felt that folks needing medical marijuana already have options provided in the current laws of the state of Oregon,” he wrote. “The committee made it clear that they were in favor of people obtaining their medicine of whatever kind in the construct of the traditional doctor, patient model.”
The Brownsville City Council established the six-person committee, which included two councilors, three business owners and a downtown property owner, after a March vote to place a one-year moratorium on the establishment of any dispensaries.
Randy Simpson, who holds a medical marijuana card and a state dispensary license, has been trying to open Green Cross Dispensary in downtown for several months. He said he was “stunned and dismayed” by the most recent setback.
He said he and his wife, Gayle, will keep their building and license for now and seek legal advice while waiting for a council decision.
“This committee was supposed to look at other cities in Oregon that allow licensed dispensaries and see if there are any unforeseen negative effects from dispensaries in their communities. I didn’t see any of that kind of research reported from from the committee,” he said.
Finding a safe, reputable source for medical marijuana is not nearly as easy for someone who is sick, particularly for older residents, as the committee members seem to think, he said. “I’m just dumbfounded how blind they can be to the real issue here.”
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