City remains under moratorium
BROWNSVILLE — Brownsville is still under a yearlong moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, so supporters say they’ll use their building for a medical marijuana resource center instead.
Gayle and Randy Simpson say they plan to begin holding regular events for Oregon Medical Marijuana Program cardholders, including medical marijuana giveaways, beginning at 7 p.m. this Sunday, Aug. 31, at 333 N. Main St., where they had planned to open Green Cross Dispensary.
The state gave the Simpsons’ dispensary plan a one-year certification in May. In March, however, Brownsville councilors enacted a one-year moratorium on establishment of any medical marijuana facilities, and reinforced the decision in July by requiring all registered businesses to be in compliance with local, county, state and federal laws.
Medical marijuana is allowed in Oregon but is still classified as a controlled substance by the U.S. government.
Randy said he envisions using the downtown building to hold potlucks, game nights and seminars about how to grow medical marijuana.
“Any OMMP cardholder is welcome to attend this first ‘gathering’ by showing their current OMMP card and a valid, current state-issued photo ID. Any attendee OMMP patient (or a patient’s caregiver) will be given a free medical marijuana donation, upon request,” he said.
Sales of marijuana are illegal, and ORS 475.316 makes it clear a medical marijuana cardholder cannot give marijuana away to someone who is not a cardholder.
But one cardholder can give medical marijuana to another without fear of arrest, Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley said.
Simpson said he understands the city’s position but believes he’s within his rights.
“I’m sure they’re not going to like it, but their ban doesn’t cover private cardholders from donating meds, for free, from one cardholder to another,” he said.
Local cardholders have been contacting the Simpsons for donations in increasing numbers, he went on. “In time, we’ll have an army of cardholders working with us to end this medical marijuana prohibition madness in Brownsville.”
City Administrator Scott Simpson called the Simpsons’ announcement “pushing every button they can possibly push,” but said it will be up to the city’s elected officials to decide how, or whether, to press the issue.
“They enacted the moratorium and I’m going to take direction from them,” he said. “They’re just kind of feeling it out right now.”
However, he added: “At the end of the day, we try our best to be a free country.”
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