Call to Action- Ashland City Council Meeting

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December 1, 2015 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
1175 E Main St
Ashland, OR 97520


It’s time to fight for patients’ rights and access to medicine once again.

Even if you do not live in Ashland, please join us to take a stand for our rights as patients, growers, & property owners!!

A couple of weeks ago, we called upon you to contact the Medford City Council to stop the ban of all personal marijuana gardens and your voices were heard loud and clear. Thanks to phone calls, emails and concerned citizens showing up at Medford City Hall, we managed to stop the ban. Now, we must again make our voices heard to stop a bad law that will only end up hurting the sickest and poorest patients among us. This time, we need to urge the Ashland City Council to reject unnecessary medical marijuana regulations. These bad regulations will be proposed before the Ashland City Council at the December 1st meeting that starts at 7pm.

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. First and foremost, the proposal will decrease the number of plants that that can be cultivated outdoors. Decreasing the number of outdoor plants will decrease the amount of medicine available for patients in the area and will force more marijuana to be grown unsustainably indoors. Limiting outdoor plants to 4 is likely illegal and could lead to costly lawsuits levied against the city.

The Oregon Legislature already limits the number of medical cannabis plants allowed in city residential areas to 12; this proposed ordinance will only allow for 4 outdoor plants. While the Planning Commission feels that four outdoor plants can sufficiently supply a patient, many gardens supply multiple patients living in a household. Many patients donate excess medicine to other patients who may not have a grower. Severely decreasing the number of outdoor plants can prevent the charitable donation of medicine to the most vulnerable of patients. Curtailing outdoor cultivation will push many patient gardens indoors, increasing the amount of electricity used and the cost to produce medical marijuana. Enforcement of this law could also prove to be costly and inefficient as Ashland law enforcement has more important priorities.

The Planning Commission is also 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.

Additionally, 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, harming patients and consumers, as competition helps keep prices low. 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 simple allow recreational marijuana stores to exist in the same zones that medical dispensaries are allowed today.

Further, the Planning Commission 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 premature to consider these new regulations at this time. Please contact the Ashland City Council and urge them to vote no on passing these proposed medical marijuana regulations.

You can contact all of the Ashland City Council members by filling out the contact form here: Put “Marijuana Regulations” in the subject line and urge the council members to vote “No” on:
1. limiting the number of outdoor medical plants to 4;
2. garden setbacks;
3. 1,000 foot barrier between marijuana dispensaries; and
4. limitations on licensed commercial growing beyond state regulations.

You can also call the City Council at (541) 488-6002.

The City Council will be hearing from the Planning Commission on December 1st and votes on the proposal could occur on December 15th and January 5th. Please make your voices heard and spread the word to family and friends. We encourage people to attend the City Council meetings at 1175 East Main Street and make their voices heard.


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