This week the Ashland City Council is hearing a proposal from the Planning Commission that will hurt patients’ safe access to cannabis for a variety of reasons. We were successful recently defeating the ban of all personal cannabis gardens in Medford, but now we must mobilize and make our voices heard to protect safe access in Ashland. Here’s a breakdown of the four parts of this bad law:
- Decrease the number of plants that can be cultivated outdoors. Oregon State Law allows for up to 12 outdoor plants to be grown per household. The Planning Commission wants to decrease that number to 4. This would make it more difficult for Ashland patients to access medicine and will force more marijuana to be grown unsustainably indoors. Limiting outdoor plants to 4 is also likely illegal and could lead to costly lawsuits levied against the city.
- Unnecessary setback regulations that hurt patients with smaller properties and are hard to enforce. The Planning Commission is proposing a 10-foot setback from property lines and and 20-foot setback from adjacent houses. While not as egregious as limiting outdoor plants, these setbacks could also harm patients with gardens on smaller properties. These setbacks likely won’t accomplish the goal of decreasing odor complaints and could also prove costly for the city to attempt to enforce.
- 1,000-foot dispensary barriers that could make medical marijuana nearly impossible to find. The Planning Commission is proposing to place a 1,000 foot barrier between all marijuana dispensaries, whether medical or recreational. This arbitrary barrier will decrease competition, which harms patients and consumers by driving up prices. Most, if not all, current dispensaries will switch over to the recreational market and OLCC rules prohibit any discounts to patients. Thus, the 1,000 foot barrier will have the unintended consequence of denying discounts to patients, such as those currently offered to veterans and low-income cancer patients. The commission has admitted that they haven’t received any complaints regarding existing medical cannabis dispensaries, illustrating that the 1,000 foot barrier simply isn’t needed. It will be sufficient to simply allow recreational marijuana stores to exist in the same zones that medical dispensaries are allowed today.
- Limiting commercial marijuana cultivation. The Planning Commission also supports limiting commercial marijuana cultivation within 5,000 square feet and to only allow such cultivation within agricultural zoned areas. State law already limits sites to 10,000 square feet maximum and prohibits commercial cultivation in residential areas. Additional city regulations of licensed commercial cultivation sites aren’t needed at this time.
The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program has benefited tens of thousands of patients across the state. Patients depend upon this life-saving medicine and many patients depend upon the kindness of others. These proposed rules, while well-intentioned, will unnecessarily hurt the sickest and poorest patients among us. The recreational system is just now getting started and we don’t know how the new system is ultimately going to impact patients. It is the wrong time for arbitrary regulations. Please contact the Ashland City Council today and urge them to vote no on passing these proposed medical marijuana regulations.
Put “Marijuana Regulations” in the subject line and urge the council members to vote “No” on:
- limiting the number of outdoor medical plants to 4;
- garden setbacks;
- 1,000 foot barrier between marijuana dispensaries; and
- limitations on licensed commercial growing beyond state regulations.
You can also call the City Council at (541) 488-6002.