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Testing facility gets permit
Despite permit, city officials say medical marijuana issues hard to find in La Grande
As Baker City explores the possibility of banning marijuana dispensaries, discussion of such measures is hard to find in La Grande.
City officials say there hasn’t been talk of a ban, but some have sought information on opening marijuana-related businesses.
“We actually issued a permit a couple weeks ago for a testing facility,” said La Grande City Planner Mike Boquist. “I don’t know if he’s going to be allowed to operate yet.”
The facility, to be located in the SAC Annex, would test marijuana to make sure it meets state requirements for mold, Boquist said.
For now, the city is categorizing the business like it would a pharmacy since the city does not have specific standards for marijuana dispensaries, which can legally open under state law in March.
While the testing facility business permit has been approved, at least one other person has come in to get paperwork for a dispensary.
The Baker City Council in January charged its city manager with overseeing a project to create two ordinances to prohibit dispensaries in Baker City. They will be presented to the council Tuesday night.
“We’re putting together one prohibiting facilities and one that requires businesses in Baker City to have a business license where they have to be in compliance with federal law,” said City Manager Mike Kee.
While the issue hasn’t come up at La Grande City Council meetings, support is obvious at Oregon Green Free Eastern Oregon meetings. Saturday, about 40 marijuana patients gathered at the Integrated Services Building for their monthly meeting despite the weather. Oregon Green Free members read the mission statement aloud at the start of the meeting, which includes a potluck luncheon. This past Saturday they held a spaghetti contest.
Oregon Green Free Eastern Oregon President Dorene Johnson was pleased to tell the group that the contract with Eastern Oregon University to meet in the building had been extended through the summer despite someone’s attempt to get them out.
Before lunch, when members of the public are allowed in on the meeting, an older man who is not a patient under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act asked about using marijuana for glaucoma.
“Cannabis is a miraculous medicine,” Johnson told him. “It does wonderful things. You need to get carded.”
Green Free organizers said their goal is to help patients be self-sufficient.
“People do come here to learn,” said Frank Kee, vice president.