Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Astoria City Council decided not to decide about enacting a moratorium on medical marijuana stores doing business in town.  This means two of the so called "dispensaries" will continue business as usual and a third is going through the steps to open soon in the downtown area.  Monday the council discussion, including some impassioned public testimony went over an hour as the city leaders heard from those who own the businesses, those that depend on the weed as a medicine, and their own legal and law enforcement people.

One local doctor out of the sixteen or seventeen in the county that have recommended people for the Oregon program medical marijuana card also testified to the council. Doctor Tom Duncan said it's important to note that doctors to not prescribe marijuana.   He said that the law allows for the use of marijuana to treat specific conditions.  If a patient exhibits the need under the law he can sign a medical marijuana card but it is not considered a prescription.   He said that there has been no reliable scientific trials conducted on the drug but he says people who suffer from serious illness tell him it makes them feel better, improves appetite and while it doesn't relive pain it makes pain more bearable.

Members of the public who testified said that the dispensaries are far more reliable, closer to home and make better sense than trying to buy the weed on the street.

Commissioner Karen Mellin said it's not appropriate for the city council to be involved in the issue because, to her, it's clearly a medical matter.

After hearing about an hour of public testimony and then further discussion amongst council members the Mayor asked for a consensus and at least three of the commissioners said they would vote against the ordinance if it was introduced. At that point the matter was dropped and the council moved on to other matters without reading the ordinance, or taking a formal vote.

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