Marijuana Dispensaries Await Licenses

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EUGENE, Ore. — The deadline for cities in Lane County to decide whether to implement medical marijuana moratoriums is inching closer.

In the meantime, licenses to operate are now being issued. One Eugene businessman is ready to re-open his shop once that license arrives in the mail.

Emerald City Medicinal, a Eugene marijuana dispensary is closed, but the phones are beginning to ring as owner David Evans waits for his license to operate.

“We are still waiting breathlessly, but have not gotten it yet,” Evans said.

On Friday, the Oregon Health Authority approved the first eight applications. Emerald City Medicinal is on the list. Evans can open when he receives that license in the mail.

“We are very pleased that the OHA was able to process our application so quickly. I mean, we had prepared for a long time,” Evans said.

Last year the legislature approved a measure legalizing the pot facilities, which had previously operated in a gray area. OHA says it’s received 288 applications and processed 50. Twenty-seven are from Eugene, and six are in Springfield.

Evans says there are thousands in our area who are in need of medical marijuana and aren’t getting it.

“Not only will these back shelves be full of containers, but they will also be labeled,” Evans said.

Waiting for licenses is not the only hurdle. Some cities are looking to put in place a year-long moratorium on the dispensaries.

“At this juncture, the city of Eugene has not had any formal discussions about that,” Evans said.

Springfield, however, is. On Monday night, councilors decided to get public input before they make a decision on whether to establish the proper city guidelines to regulate the dispensaries. For those like Jayson Thomas, looking to open up a dispensary, his livelihood is on the line.

‘It is very exciting. I have 12 employees that I have already made commitments to them and their families. I have invested my life savings, so this is something very dear to me,” Thomas said.

Cities like Springfield want to make sure residents are satisfied with the guidelines and regulations before approving them. If not, councilors could impose the moratorium. Meanwhile, those like Evans can’t wait to turn their closed signs around.

Springfield will take public comment on the moratorium at its April 7 meeting. Lane County has until May 1 to block the facilities in its communities.

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