Pubdate: Thu, 10 Mar 2016
Source: Mail Tribune, The (Medford, OR)
Copyright: 2016 The Mail Tribune
Note: Only prints LTEs from within it's circulation area, 200 word count limit
Author: Damian Mann


Medford's wall against pot dispensaries crumbled last year, and 
cannabis entrepreneurs have wasted no time getting licenses from the 
state to open medical marijuana stores.

"It's good to have quite a few stores in town," said Nina Crawford, a 
21-year-old bud tender at the newly opened Kush Gardens at 1067 Court St.

Kush Gardens is the second legal store to open. Patients Helping 
Patients was the first legal dispensary in Medford, but the Oregon 
Medical Marijuana Program has issued five licenses for businesses 
within city limits. Medford is already surrounded by a half-dozen 
cannabis dispensaries. In Jackson County, 22 licenses have been 
issued to dispensaries, though not all are open for business.

In addition to the five Medford licenses issued, City Councilor Clay 
Bearnson has applied for a license to open a dispensary near 
downtown. Patients Helping Patients, at 2390 W. Main St., is prepared 
to seek a second license to open a new store in southwest Medford. If 
the owners are successful, that would mean seven dispensaries have 
licenses to operate within the city.

Although many dispensaries have licenses, it's not clear how many 
actually plan to open an outlet in the city.

Lime Green, at 17 N. Riverside Ave., in the former Shenanigan's bar, 
received a license, but a sign in front says La Mota, which is a 
cannabis dispensary chain in Oregon. La Mota has another location in 
Shady Cove. A representative for the company said the Medford 
location should open within six weeks, and it will be the sixth La 
Mota in the state.

Mary Jane's Basement, which ran afoul of local law enforcement for 
dispensing marijuana without a city business license, still appears 
to be closed, and its phone appears to have been disconnected. Mary 
Jane's license is still active, according to the OMMP website.

Crawford, who recently moved from Virginia, where pot is illegal, 
said the Medford Kush Gardens store is smaller than a dispensary with 
the same name in Shady Cove, because recreational marijuana cannot be 
sold within Medford city limits.

"If we become recreational, it is going to be very busy here," she said.

Last October, Medford City Council voted to lift its ban on cannabis 
dispensaries, effective Dec. 1. The council will place a measure on 
the November ballot asking voters whether they want to approve of 
selling recreational marijuana in the city and whether it should be 
taxed at 3 percent. Dispensaries will not be allowed to sell 
recreational marijuana unless the ballot measure passes.

Phil Carvalho was the first to get a business license in Medford, for 
his marijuana dispensary Patients Helping Patients at 2390 W. Main St.

"I do feel Medford is the capital of Southern Oregon," Carvalho said.

He's finalizing a lease at a southwest Medford location for a new 
store, and then he said he will apply for a license with the state.

Carvalho said he's developing his own line of cartridges with hash 
oil, as well as vaporizers.

He said he expects Medford to be a popular spot to open a dispensary, 
though the inability to sell recreational marijuana could limit some 
people from opening a store here.

Carvalho said he thinks about 10 dispensaries could open in Medford 
before the market gets oversaturated.

Bearnson, who operates Gypsy Blues Bar on Eighth Street downtown, 
said he expected quite a few applicants to come forward seeking a 
dispensary license once the city lifted its ban.

"I'm not surprised at all," he said.

Bearnson said he's not sure how many dispensaries the city can 
support, but he said there are quite a few practical limitations.

They have to stay out of residential neighborhoods, and they can't be 
located within 1,000 feet of a school or another dispensary. Also, 
many landlords won't lease to dispensaries, he said.

"Finding a property owner who will permit that use is a pretty big 
hurdle," he said.

Bearnson said he's about one month away from getting a license from 
the state, and he expects to open a store downtown sometime in early April.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom