Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Tonight at the city council meeting we had a public hearing, and the council acted as a quasi-judicial body to hear an appeal from a business owner, Merle Thomas of Oregon Medical Grade, Inc., who was denied a business license from the City for his medical marijuana business in Canby, due to our City code.

The license was denied because our Canby Municipal Code states: “Any person who carries on or engages in a business that is illegal under applicable city, state or federal laws is prohibited from being issued a business license.” This is quite a conundrum for cities, because it is a place where Federal law and Oregon State law conflict (as medical dispensaries were legalized in 1998 by the state legislature) and cities are left to determine the best course of action to take for their community. There are also courts of appeals trying to work out the details, too.

I voted to uphold the City’s decision to deny him his license because our City code currently prohibits it. However, if we amend the code in future, a medical dispensary could be welcome in Canby.

This is unchartered territory in Oregon, and it is difficult to navigate.

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