EUGENE, Ore. — A Eugene marijuana dispensary remains open for business after a legal scare, but staff members aren’t sure they’re ready to celebrate just yet. Owners and operators of The Greener Side Marijuana dispensary on Oak Street, say the business has been a dream, but it hasn’t been easy. They were nearly shut down, after an anonymous caller told the Oregon Health Authority they were in violation of state regulations and they say it’s just a small sample of the push back they get from some community members.
The face of the cannabis industry is changing as states all across the country, including Oregon, work to make its sale legal and regulated.
The Greener Side Director Chelsea Hopkins says, “In a regulated arena, it’s much harder for children to get a hold of these substances, whereas keeping it on the black market, makes it more readily available to children.”
And that is why staff at The Greener Side were frustrated to hear someone filed an anonymous complaint saying they were operating within a thousand feet of a school, a claim, which eventually proved to be invalid. As it turned out, the school in question had moved.
“There are bars around schools that kids don’t get into. There are pharmacies around schools. There’s a methadone clinic around a school here in Eugene and to say that cannabis is worse than any of those is hypocritical,” says Hopkins.
Now, even though this mess is all behind them now, the controversy around legal marijuana use continues to grow and whatever your stance, Lane County Public health officials say we’ll need to create an environment that works for both sides, as we brace for more possible change.
Lane County Public Health Public Information Officer Jason Davis says, “Public health response to alcohol and to tobacco is working backwards from it being readily accepted by society and now marijuana is making more of an appearance on the scene on the business we’re able to move forward on things.”
There are currently 138 approved dispensaries statewide. 29 applications from Lane County have been rejected, but 18 were previously approved, six given provisional approval and two still pending.