Medical marijuana dispensary dilemma in Klamath County

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, March 20 2014 at 4:01 PM, Updated: Thu, March 20 2014 at 7:24 PM

Klamath Falls, Ore. -- While the city of Klamath Falls now has a policy in place for medical marijuana dispensaries...Klamath County does not.

That's making things difficult for a dispensary applicant in the county.

Ilo Ferroggiaro is selling pipes and plant food until his dispensary license is approved.

But the the county hasn't approved dispensaries yet.

Reporter: "Are you sort of stuck in limbo until they get this figured out?"

Ferroggiaro: "Yes, I am."

Commissioner Jim Bellet has said the county hopes to adopt an ordinance similar to one passed by the city.

But that could cause a problem for Ferroggiaro...

"If they were to impose a 400 foot restriction from a residential zone, then we would be in violation, and we would have to move."

There are about 1000 medical marijuana card holders in Klamath County.

If each one uses about 2 ounces of marijuana a month, Ferroggiaro says that translates to plenty of business...

"That's 2000 ounces a month.  If my math is roughly correct, that's roughly 62 pounds of medicine that Klamath Falls goes through a month."

Ferroggiaro says that even if marijuana is legalized in Oregon, he plans to remain a patient-only store...

"If it was my medicine, I wouldn't want to stand in line with someone that was just waiting to party."

A separate dispensary on Washburn Way could be opening as soon as the end of this month.

But Ferroggiaro may have to wait...

"We'll stay here as long as we have to.  We're here to serve the patient needs of Klamath County."

The medical marijuana dispensary issue is scheduled to go before the Klamath County Commissioners on Tuesday, April 8th.

The Klamath Falls City Council adopted their ordinance by a 3 to 2 vote Monday night.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

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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