Klamath County moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Tue, April 22 2014 at 5:14 PM, Updated: Tue, April 22 2014 at 10:15 PM

Klamath Falls, Ore. - A year long moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries is now in place in Klamath County.

The public testimony was emotional at times.

"I suffer from spinal spasms - all day long."  Noted dispensary applicant Ilo Ferroggiaro.  "And I can use the western medicines that are prescribed, my daughter calls them 'the couch monster pills.'"

Darlene Cunningham is opposed to the dispensaries "Please, I beg of you - do not allow these shops to open."

The discussion packed the commissioner's hearing room.

Of the 22 people that testified before the commissioners this morning, 17 were in favor of the moratorium, while 5 others favored the opening of the dispensaries.

Terry Noriel of On Site Drug and Alcohol Testing:  "If we legalize marijuana, how are we going to know that people aren't driving a vehicle, and killing someone that we love?  How do we know they're not on a job site, injuring somebody they work next to?"

Shiloh Dahms of Klamath Falls:  "It's a doctor prescribed medication that is legal in the state of Oregon, with proven medical benefits."

After 2 hours of testimony, the commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the moratorium.

"So, this isn't the end of the world."  Cautioned Commissioner Dennis Linthicum.  "This is simply May first of 2015 - a moratorium will be in place."

The county moratorium will not impact a recent city ordinance allowing medical marijuana dispensaries.

Ed Medina, Jr. of 'A Better Way' dispensary in the city says he's still waiting for his license from the state before he can open.

Medina says he expects that license to arrive within a week.

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About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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