Dispensaries must now have rec license

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Jefferson County has five medical marijuana dispensaries, and only Plantae has received a recreational license


Since October 2015, licensed medical marijuana dispensaries have been allowed to sell recreational marijuana to adults 21 and over who don't possess a medical marijuana card.

As of Jan. 1, the 326 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in the state were required to obtain a recreational license if they wanted to continue selling recreational marijuana, which was legalized in 2014. On Dec. 30, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission reported that only 175 had active licenses for recreational sales, and 46 of those needed to surrender their medical marijuana licenses.

Jefferson County has five medical marijuana dispensaries — all within the Madras city limits or urban growth boundary: Plantae Health Care at 1100 S.W. Highway 97; Madras Resource Center, 141 S.E. Fifth St.; Diamond Tree, 380 N. Highway 26; Evergreen Organics, 780 S.W. Fourth St.; and High Desert Dispensary, 1825 S. Highway 97.

Of those, only Plantae Health Care had received its recreational license (by Dec. 30), but hadn't surrendered its medical marijuana license in order to activate it.

In November, the city of Madras passed a 3 percent tax on the sale of marijuana and declined a measure that would have prohibited the sale of recreational marijuana.

In preparation for the possibility that city voters would allow the continued sale of recreational marijuana, the Madras City Council put together a Recreational Marijuana Advisory Committee that met four times to make recommendations on the "time, place and manner" for sales. The city passed the recommended ordinance in October.

That ordinance allows the medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries to open no earlier than 7 a.m., and remain open no later than 10 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

Under the ordinance, "Growing, processing, wholesaling, and the sales of marijuana is not permitted in residential areas," said Nick Snead, director of the Madras Community Development Department, who was part of the committee. "Growing, processing, and wholesaling marijuana is permitted in the city's industrial zoning district. Retail sales of marijuana is allowed in the City's C-1, C-2, C-3 zoning districts."

None of those activities may be located within 1,000 feet of property where a school is located. And, businesses selling marijuana may not be located within 1,000 feet of another property where marijuana retail sales are occurring.

"The city's recreational marijuana regulations protect the public by limiting the locations where growing, processing, wholesaling, and retail sales can occur," said Snead.

"In particular, the residential areas have been restricted from growing, processing, wholesaling, and retail sales of marijuana," he continued. "The only exception to this restriction is that, generally, residents can grow their own medical or recreational marijuana for their personal use as allowed by state law."

State law allows adults 21 and over to grow up to four plants per residence out of public view.

"The city has also adopted regulations for growing, processing, and wholesaling recreational marijuana that regulates the manner in which lighting can be used and that all marijuana business operations are to be conducted within permanent, fully enclosed, rigid, nontranslucent structures," said Snead. "These regulations will ensure that any negative impacts from lighting used to assist with the production of marijuana is prevented and that these businesses operate within secure buildings."

During the committee meetings, which included those in the marijuana industry, as well as those opposed to the industry, Snead said there wasn't much disagreement.

"There was a significant amount of information sharing and education provided by the RMAC and staff to the members of the committee that resulted in robust discussions and ultimately consensus of the committee on the regulations that they were tasked with drafting for the City Council," he said.

For more information on the city's recreational marijuana regulations, or for the city's application form, visit the city's website at www.ci.madras.or.us. Under "Ordinances & Policies," click on "Recreational Marijuana."

For the recreational marijuana application, go to "Community Development," and check out the "Permit & Application Center."