Springfield weighs moratorium as dispensaries begin to open

Springfield weighs moratorium as dispensaries begin to open

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - State law now allows cities to put a temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries.

But many dispensaires are already up and running in Springfield, where the Springield City Council will take a look at the issue at a 7 p.m. meeting Monday.

"The moratorium allows every City in Oregon to kind of look at the laws and say, 'OK, where will these be placed, what are the laws around them, what is the permitting around them'," said Niel Laudati with the City of Springfield.

At the Wickit Weedery on Main Street in Springfield, owner Brenda Young said the city has a few options: either enter a lengthy legal battle, or create regulations so that dispensaries can remain open.

"They didn't even think about it until there was how many possible," she said. "It's scary, we accept that. We as dispensary owners know this is a scary thing for new cities to get in to."  

To better regulate dispensaries, the 2014 Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 1531, allowing local governments to impose "reasonable regulations" on dispensaries, like hours of operation and location.

It also allows cities to declare a moritorium for up to one year.

Ladauti said the city is considering that option.

"Do we need to do more? Do we need to get our permits in order, regulations in order?" he said.

Jason Thomas, co-founder of Cannabis LLC, grows at his residence in Springfield.

He said if a moritorium is imposed, dispensaries may have to jump through legal hoops to become a private club to still sell medical marijuana to patients.

"We're not going anywhere," he said, "and as a cooperative, we're willing to work with them every step of the way."