Newport City Councilors Monday learned that the ink is hardly dry on the enabling state legislation legalizing storefronts for medicinal marijuana that one is now scheduled to open in Newport March 1st. March 1st is when the legislation actually becomes law.
Councilors were told by Police Chief Mark Miranda that the regulations surrounding the law are still being formulated. He said some law enforcement agencies, like the Medford and Grants Pass Police Departments, are dead set against the law and are expected to use new city ordinance language to ban storefront medicinal marijuana sales. He said they are wording their bans to say that since the federal government still lists marijuana as an illegal drug, they don’t have to allow storefronts. When asked what his attitude was about the issue Chief Miranda relied, “We don’t have a dog in this fight.”
Chief Miranda then announced to the council that Newport has already gotten its first storefront business license application which becomes effective when the law becomes effect, March 1st of next year. The location is on Northwest 15th, barely a block west of Highway 101 where a car audio shop was once located. The name of the store will be CannaMedicine, owned by Jim Wakefield who owns another store in Salem. Some marijuana stores have already been set up around the state since medical marijuana has been legal for some time. The new law fully legalizes them in state law and will set up a regulatory structure to ensure standard operations, especially dealing only with legal marijuana growers.
Community Development Director Derrick Tokos said that under the new law storefront medicinal marijuana sales cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school. However, beyond that, they can locate in any zone that allows pharmacies. It’s not known how many stores per city are contemplated in the new regulations that are still being put together in Salem. Again, March 1st the new law takes effect. Several councilors said they expect a now pending 2014 general election ballot issue of legalizing recreational use of marijuana will be passed which will have much larger implications for the licensing and sales of marijuana across Oregon.