City officials hold education session on medical & recreational marijuana

, Posted: Thu, June 26 2014 at 5:15 PM, Updated: Thu, June 26 2014 at 6:52 PM

Medford, Ore. -- On Thursday, the Medford City Council took steps to make sure they're informed on medical and recreational marijuana issues.

City Attorney John Huttl went over issues of legality surrounding medical marijuana dispensaries as well as the potential ballot measure aimed at legalizing recreational use of the drug in Oregon.

On Thursday the New Approach Oregon group turned in a petition with 145,000 signatures to legalize recreational marijuana use.

The signatures will have to be verified, but only 87,000 signatures are needed to qualify for the ballot.

Currently recreational marijuana use is only legal in Washington and Colorado.   

A  similar initiative failed to pass in 2012.

At the council meeting, councilors got a chance to weigh in and ask questions.

"Should we in fact, put in place right now a tax on marijuana if it is ever sold in the city of Medford?" asked Medford City Councilor Dick Gordon.

During the meeting, Councilman Chris Corcoran wondered if the council was missing the point of having an informational session since discussion mostly centered on legality and the use of marijuana still being against federal law.

Corcoran brought up the compassionate pleas from Oregon Medical Marijuana cardholders at previous city council meetings. He said he thought the process of getting an OMMP card was too loose, but that there are legitimate reasons for people to take cannabis.   

"It was a good process. There's a lot to stay on top of. It was very helpful," said Daniel Bunn, Medford City Councilor.    

The informational session was held at the request of councilwoman Karen Blair before she died from her battle with lung cancer earlier this month.

At the end of the meeting, Medford Mayor Gary Wheeler and the city council instructed Huttl to compile more information about what the city can do when it comes to determining time, manner and place for a dispensary. They also asked him to look into the possibility of taxing marijuana. His findings are expected to be presented to the council in the coming weeks.

Medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits are currently banned.


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