Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, June 3 2014 at 5:17 PM, Updated: Tue, June 3 2014 at 7:49 PM
Gold Hill, Ore. -- The Rogue Valley is about to have its first fully legal medical marijuana dispensary. The Gold Hill City Council voted 4-2 Monday night to change city code to pave way for the dispensary to open it's doors.
"Now we get to dispense medical marijuana," said Brie Malarkey, the managing owner at Breeze Botanicals.
Breeze Botanicals now has approval from the Oregon Health Authority as well as Gold Hill to operate the business. Malarkey sells locally made products like farm-grown eggs, herbs, and soap among other items. However, the store will now be allowed to dispense cannabis to medical marijuana card holders.
"We expect to be dispensing medicine by Friday of this week or definitely by Monday of next week," said Malarkey.
According to city officials, because Gold Hill is so small, it can only accommodate one medical marijuana dispensary. That one dispensary has residents divided.
"I'm not in favor of it. I've always felt that if it's really medicine then you should get it at the pharmacy like every other prescription medicine," said Kim Shelton, a Gold Hill area resident.
"If it helps somebody with pain, their eye problems and stuff, then I think it should be used," said Gold Hill resident Tony Anderson.
Meantime, Brie Malarkey is just glad her store was given the okay to open.
"I didn't think that I would be the first one in the Rogue Valley, but I am," said Malarkey.
"A lot of other cities and counties, you hear them talking about sitting back and letting other cities figure it out. Well, that's not leadership," she continued.
Once the dispensary opens, Oregon Medical Marijuana Program patients can expect to pay for the cost of operating a dispensary. However, Malarkey said the city council mandated that patients will have to pay a fiver percent sales tax on their cannabis as well.
Malarkey said she will post updates to the store's website and will also put updates on the store's voicemail system.
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Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.
Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.
Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.
Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.