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Medford marijuana dispensary closed

Owners work to retain business license; judge will review their case today
 Posted: 2:00 AM March 26, 2014

A medical marijuana dispensary temporarily closed Monday after the Medford City Council revoked its business license.

MaryJane's Attic and MaryJane's Basement in the WinCo shopping center hopes to reopen if it can receive a stay of the revocation from a Jackson County Circuit Court judge.

Richard Nuckols, who owns MaryJane's along with his wife, Marlene, said it will be difficult for his 1,634 patients to find safe access to marijuana during the closure.

"Some will have to try other alternatives, and others will have to go to the black market," he said. "We have a lot of concerned patients."

The Nuckolses have filed a petition for a writ of review, which will be heard by Circuit Judge Timothy Gerking at 9 a.m. today.

Until then, the owners will obey the closure forced on them by the city's revocation of the business license, which the City Council approved last Thursday.

MaryJane's Portland attorney, Leland Berger, said the Nuckolses will ask the judge to stay the revocation until the court can hear all the facts in the case.

The City Council on Thursday also placed a permanent moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits.

The Nuckolses have two separate businesses under one roof. MaryJane's Attic sells clothing, candles, and other products. MaryJane's Basement dispenses medical marijuana to patients who display a valid Oregon Medical Marijuana Patient card.

According to documents filed with the court on Monday, the Nuckolses received just one business license on April 9, 2012, for the two businesses at the request of the Medford Finance Department.

On the business license application, the purpose of MaryJane's Attic was listed as clothing, jewelry and novelties. For MaryJane's Basement it was listed as patient services and medical service.

Also, the license application indicated there would be age-based access restrictions at the store. Dispensaries cannot allow patients younger than 18 inside the area where medical marijuana is dispensed.

On Sept. 25, 2013, the city issued an intent to revoke the business license. Prior to the revocation, Medford police conducted four controlled buys at MaryJane's Basement.

The city contends medical marijuana patients are supposed to receive medicine from a designated grower under state law. However, MaryJane's allowed patients to buy marijuana without regard to a particular grower.

A representative from the City Attorney's Office could not be reached for comment Monday.

House Bill 3460, which was rolled out on March 3, allows dispensaries to provide medical marijuana to any patient.

District Attorney Beth Heckert declined to prosecute MaryJane's because of the passage of HB 3460.

The Nuckolses have asked the judge to stay the business license revocation because they are in danger of losing their lease if they don't have a business license for a period of more than 15 days. The couple would be liable for payments covering the two years remaining in the lease.

In addition, MaryJane's would not be able to provide safe access to patients' medicine as it has done for the past 23 months, the Nuckolses told the court.

In their court document, the Nuckolses state they never conducted activities that were illegal under state or federal law.

They contend the city's actions are unconstitutional in attempting to cite federal law as a means to avoid following state law.

MaryJane's has also applied for a license from the Oregon Health Authority.

So far, the state has received 19 applications for dispensaries in Jackson County, the third highest in the state behind Multnomah, with 131 applications, and Lane, with 38.

Altogether, 288 applications have been received statewide, but only eight have been approved so far, and none in Jackson County.

Andrea Adams, owner of The Greenery in Phoenix, said she saw an increase in patients Saturday and Monday. She said patient confidentiality prevents her from inquiring whether the patients formerly went to MaryJane's.

"Richard and Marlene are good people trying to do good work," she said. "There are a lot of patients that need to be served."

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/reporterdm.


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