LA GRANDE — Hwy 30 Cannabis is back in operation.
The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program in November 2019 ordered the medical marijuana dispensary at 1709 Adams Ave., La Grande, to suspend operations. Owner Rona Lindsey appealed, and the business reopened Dec. 19.
Jonathan Modie, spokesperson for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, said Hwy 30 entered into an agreement with the Oregon Health Authority, effective Nov. 25, to lift the suspension.
"The dispensary was found to be in compliance with the terms of the settlement agreement and the emergency suspension was lifted Dec. 18, 2019. Since the dispensary entered into a settlement agreement regarding the emergency suspension, the appeal was withdrawn," according to a statement from Modie.
However, he also reported the investigation that prompted the suspension is ongoing.
Lindsey said Hwy 30 has received a positive reception after the shutdown.
"Our patients are very happy it has reopened," she said.
Many of her customers traveled to Pendleton and Ontario to get medical marijuana , she explained, while Hwy 30 Cannabis was closed.
"It was really tough. I felt bad for them," she said.
Portland attorney Leland Berger, who represents Hwy 30 Cannabis and Lindsey, said the Oregon Health Authority’s investigation of Hwy 30 focused on employees who were not following rules and regulations. Berger said Lindsey put a lot of trust in her employees, some of whom let her down. Berger also said some may be guilty of theft.
Those employees no longer work for Hwy 30 Cannabis, and Berger said Lindsey is taking a more hands-on approach to running her business.
Berger described the settlement, which was in in lieu of a health authority hearing, as similar to an out-of-court settlement in a civil case.
Modie said the preliminary findings resulted in the immediate suspension in November. He added the settlement agreement addressed the suspension only and provided the dispensary an opportunity to resume operations. Modie also said the state's medical marijuana program has no additional information to share because the investigation is ongoing,
Hwy 30 Cannabis has been operating in La Grande since 2014. It is one of three dispensaries remaining in Oregon that exclusively provide medical marijuana. The state has many other medical marijuana dispensaries that operate in conjunction with the sale of recreational marijuana.