Entrepreneur looks to open medical marijuana dispensary in Gold Hill

, Posted: Mon, May 5 2014 at 7:14 PM, Updated: Tue, May 6 2014 at 10:11 AM

Gold Hill, Ore. -- Brie Malarkey, co-owner of Breeze Botanicals in Gold Hill is planning to sell local farm-made products at her store located at 315 Second Avenue in the Gold Dust Center. Her products range from lip balm, to medicinal herbs to basil wine jelly. However, she said she wants to also dispense medical marijuana.

"We're going to incorporate lots of different medicinal herbs, including but not limited to cannabis," she said.

Malarkey said she already grows medical marijuana for her husband, mother and a few other patients.

According to Malarkey, who has been running a family farm with her husband for the last 3.5 years, the Oregon Health Authority has already issued her a provisional license to open up a medical marijuana dispensary. Now she's waiting on the city of Gold Hill to a make a decision.

"I respect the process that the city council is going through," said Malarkey.

She hopes the city council will reverse a temporary ban they voted-in last month.

However, not everyone is so convinced that having a medical marijuana dispensary in town is a good idea.

"We have meth problems," said June Podesta, a Gold Hill area resident.

"In our little town here in Gold Hill we already have a multitude of problems and I just think it would multiply the problems here," she continued.

Malarkey responded to the concerns, saying that it's up to police and public policy makers to curb meth use and drug abuse in the community.

"This is a place for people who have taken the time to get their medical marijuana card. They've taken the time to go to their doctor. This place is for the truly ill or for people who can't find medical marijuana or don't know where to go," she said.

Other people said they wouldn't mind.

"I think people should have the right to take anything they want really," began Gold Hill resident Sherman Kiger.

"I don't really mind so long as they stay indoors," he continued.

For now, the plan is for Breeze Botanicals' doors to open on May 15th, without medical marijuana. 

Malarkey said at this point she's looking for products from local farmers to fill her store.

"I really want this to be a farm store really promoting local products as much as possible," Malarkey said.

She said it has taken all the money from her savings account to open up shop. Now, she is crossing her fingers, hoping the city gives her the green light to open up what she says will be the only dispensary in Gold Hill.

"Gold Hill is a very dense community and you've got your residential zones, a big public school zone and then where I'm located and that's why there can be only one place," said Malarkey.

She said she expects the city council to regulate things like her operating hours and policies regarding background checks for her employees.

The issue will be taken up at Monday's city council meeting at Gold Hill's City Hall at 6pm. A second hearing on the issue is expected on May 19th.

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