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Medford says pot shop citations were premature

Mar 14, 2014


MEDFORD — The city of Medford says it has moved too quickly against a medical marijuana dispensary, jumping the gun in what promises to be one of the first local tussles in Oregon over pot shops.

The City Council last week voted to revoke the business license of Mary Jane's Attic and Mary Jane's Basement, which operates in a shopping center, the Medford Mail Tribune reports.

Meanwhile the police issued three $250 citations against the business. Its attorney says the city's lawyers told him the citations would be dismissed.

“We improvidently issued the citations,” said City Council member Daniel Bunn.

He said the council has to fine-tune the language, so the council will look at the measure again on March 20.

Bunn said he believes the city had the authority to issue the citations under its existing code, but he said officials wanted to make sure the language revoking the license was in place, along with a moratorium on dispensaries, before moving against Mary Jane's.

Medford's was among the first local governments to resist the Legislature's action in 2013 to put regulations on medical marijuana operations that were operating in a legal gray area.

City leaders said marijuana is still illegal under federal law, so it can deny a license to a business dealing in it.

The resistance to pot shops surfaced at this year's legislative session when local jurisdictions sought the power to outlaw dispensaries of medical marijuana. The Legislature didn't grant that, but did allow moratoriums that can last until May 2015.

A number of jurisdictions are moving to impose them.

The owner of Mary Jane's, Richard Nuckols, said the citations stunned him because he'd understood the city's revocation would not take place until March 20. He said he and his attorney are discussing an appeal.

“This seems like bullying tactics and harassment tactics on the part of the city,” he said.

His attorney, Leland Berger of Portland, said the city didn't have the authority to issue the citations.

“The city code provides that while the appeal is pending, the revocation is stayed,” Berger said.

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Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/

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