MEDFORD, Ore. – Addictions counselors are concerned that the number of planned medical marijuana dispensaries in Medford could derail the efforts of people going through substance abuse treatment. And in one case, they’re concerned about where those dispensaries are opening.
The owner of “The Lounge,” a medical marijuana smoking club, applied to the state Monday to open a dispensary in the same building on East Main Street. That location is around the corner from an Addictions Recovery Center office on Genessee Street. It’s a 230 yard walk between the two buildings.
Edward Smith-Burns, deputy director for the Addictions Recovery Center, said he’s not concerned about the planned dispensary’s proximity, and called it a “community issue.”
“We trust the community and lawmakers to make the right decisions [about dispensaries],” he said.
But other addiction services are unhappy about how close the two buildings are.
“I think it’s kind of a slap in the face,” said Amanda Krug-Deuel, a program manager at OnTrack. “Families are being separated because of drugs and alcohol abuse, and then we have places setting up shop that are offering it like candy.”
She is concerned that having a number of dispensaries operate in Medford will be a big temptation for people struggling with marijuana addiction. She said the planned dispensaries could mean changes to the way addicts are treated, with more focus on preventing a relapse.
“An alcoholic has to deal with all these liquor stores open, a gambling addict has to deal with, every corner has a lottery sign. There are triggers everywhere,” she said. “For people struggling with marijuana addiction, this is another thing they’re going to have to face and another trigger they’re going to have to deal with.”