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Oregon's first pot shops get permits

Mar 24, 2014


By the Associated Press and N-R staff

The Legislature last year approved a measure legalizing the pot facilities, effective this month. The dispensaries had previously operated in a legal gray area.

The Oregon Health Authority said Friday that it had received 288 applications since it began taking them March 3. It said it had issued the first eight permits.

“For the first time, a legal and regulatory structure is in place to govern the operation of dispensaries,” said Tom Burns, OHA’s director of pharmacy programs.

Seven of the first eight shops gave the OHA authority to release their business names. They are Oregon’s Finest, Portland; Pure Green, Portland; N.W. Green Oasis, Portland; The Releaf Center, Hermiston; Cherry City Compassion, Salem; Doctor Jolly’s, Bend; and EmeraldCity Medicinal, Eugene.

Jim Galba of H2Organics of McMinnville has filed his state application and paid the $4,000 application fee. He was hoping to site a dispensary at his Bunn Village business, which is under county jurisdiction, but a one-year county moratorium on dispensary siting forced him to seek a city location instead.

He could not be reached regarding the status of his application.

Applications were denied for 22 facilities because of incomplete paperwork or locations not meeting stipulations in the law. Another 20 facilities were granted provisional licenses that will allow them to begin operating once they have suitable security alarms installed.

Those that have been fully cleared can begin operating legally as soon as they get their permit certificates in the mail, said spokeswoman Karynn Fish.

That’s only if they aren’t barred by local authorities. Earlier this month, the Legislature gave cities and counties the power to block the facilities within their communities until May 2015, though local officials had asked for authority to enact permanent bans.

Nearly two dozen local governments have already passed or are considering ordinances to block the shops within their borders, at least temporarily.

Draft rules were released early last week that would allow facility owners to get a refund of the application fee if a moratorium blocks them from opening, but those rules will not go into effect until this week, Fish said.

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