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Hearing set for Tuesday on Port Orchard’s medical marijuana moratorium

March 21st, 2011 by Chris Henry

The city of Port Orchard on Tuesday will hold a public hearing on a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries approved by the city council Feb. 22.

The city was allowed to impose the “emergency” moratorium without formal public input, but it is required to follow up with a hearing on the matter.

The owner of Greenthumb Medical referral service and Tacoma Greenthumb, a medical marijuana dispensary, was thwarted by the moratorium in his efforts to establish a medical marijuana facility at 944 Bay Street in Port Orchard. His attorney will be at the hearing tomorrow.

“My position is that I think it’s kind of ridiculous,” said the man, who does not want to be publicly identified due what he describes as recent changes in the industry.

He somewhat understands the moratorium on dispensaries where marijuana is sold, but believes it should not apply to referral centers, where patients obtain medical certification to receive marijuana for treatment of a wide range of ailments. He is not a doctor, but contracts with a doctor to provide referrals.

“A doctor should be able to write a recommendation anywhere in Washington,” he said.

Greenthumb Medical Inc. is registered with Washington State’s Department of Licensing. The owner, who operates in Tacoma, has been denied business licenses in Port Orchard, Bremerton and Gig Harbor.

Meanwhile, he and others with dispensaries in Tacoma are doing so in a state of limbo. Tacoma has temporarily allowed medical marijuana dispensaries, pending the outcome of proposed legislation. A bill to clarify the rules on medical marijuana has passed the state Senate and is under consideration in the House.

Greenthumb was among 19 new dispensaries to receive letters from the city of Tacoma ordering them to stop selling to patients by March 28 or face losing their licenses and possible criminal charges. The Tacoma News Tribune reported Saturday on the latest development in that city’s approach to the budding industry.

Tacoma in October sent similar cease-and-desist letters to eight dispensaries, which caused an immediate uproar. City officials decided to allow the dispensaries to operate, at least until the outcome of the bill became clear, but they were required to file appeals.

The purpose of the latest round of letters, according to the article, was to put all dispensaries on the same legal footing in anticipation of whatever action the city will take when the bill either passes or dies.

According to this business owner, however, the cumulative effect has been chilling, hence his desire to remain anonymous.

The city of Poulsbo also has instituted a moratorium on medical marijuana, although no inquires had been made about such a business when it went into effect.

A poll on the Kitsap Caucus homepage asking, “Do you favor or oppose passage of SB 5073, ‘concerning the medical use of cannabis?’” shows 31 votes for and 12 against the bill, or 72 percent to 28 percent.

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One Response to “Hearing set for Tuesday on Port Orchard’s medical marijuana moratorium”

  1. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    If the concern is truly for the patient well being, what is the problem with selling the drug through established pharmacies?

    Are the folks lined up to sell pot licensed pharmacists? If not, what qualifies them to sell an otherwise illegal substance?

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