State drops effort to close medical marijuana dispensary in Eugene – The Register-Guard

State regulators have dropped their effort to shut a medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Eugene.

Regulators decided that a complaint that the dispensary was too close to a school was not valid.

It was the first time the Oregon Health Authority had sought to revoke the operating license of a dispensary since state officials began issuing them in March.

The Greener Side, at 1553 Oak St., appealed after the state agency notified it in an April 9 letter that it would revoke its license.

The agency had received an anonymous email saying the dispensary was operating within 1,000 feet of a school, in violation of state regulations, spokeswoman Karynn Fish said.

A letter to the editor published in The Register-Guard raised the same complaint. The letter and email had similar wording, Fish said.

The Oregon Health Authority moved to revoke the license after its employees verified the proximity claim, Thomas Burns, the agency’s pharmacy director, wrote in a follow-up letter to the editor of The Register-Guard.

But the state has subsequently reversed its position.

The state Department of Education helped the health authority build the database of all public schools. The authority turned to the Internet to identify more than 350 private schools.

The database listed the main campus of the Network Charter School but not its four satellite locations, Burns wrote.

One of those locations, near the intersection of Willamette Street and 15th Avenue, was within 1,000 feet of the dispensary.

The state’s online map that uses information from the database actually shows two “schools” within 1,000 feet of the dispensary.

The agency eventually determined that the school had moved from the Willamette and 15th location, Fish said. The other “school” was Ophelia’s Place, a nonprofit resource center for girls ages 10 to 18. The charter school used Ophelia’s Place for classroom space, but Ophelia’s Place isn’t a school, according to Fish and an employee at the resource center.

The head of Ophelia’s Place didn’t return a message seeking comment.

The agency withdrew its revocation order on June 30, while the appeal was pending, Fish said.

“That particular location appears to be in the clear for The Greener Side,” Fish said.

An employee at The Greener Side referred questions to the firm’s lawyer, who did not return a phone message or email.

The Greener Side had been removed from the online locator map. Fish said a state employee got ahead of the revocation process — which allows a dispensary to operate while an appeal is pending — and the dispensary would be listed again soon.

The Greener Side is listed elsewhere on the Oregon Health Authority’s website as a licensed site.

All told, the state has approved 18 dispensary applications in Lane County, given provisional approval to six more, and rejected 29. Two applications are pending. Statewide, 138 have been approved, 51 have been provisionally approved, and 184 have been rejected. Forty-four are still pending statewide.

Follow Christian on Twitter @RGchill . Email [email protected] .

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