Oregon Medical Marijuana Shops Opening for Business



It's official: medical marijuana shops are opening their doors this week in Oregon, with the blessing of the state government.

Oregon Senate Bill 1531, signed into law by Gov. John Kitzhaber last week, gives cities and counties until May 1 to block any medical marijuana stores that set up shop. Otherwise, the Oregon Health Authority is licensing pot to be packaged with child-proof containers and being sold over the counter.

But the Associated Press reports that one medical marijuana shop—The Releaf Center just outside of Hermiston, Ore., which opened its doors on March 25—could be shut down soon if the Umatilla County Commission decides to enact a moratorium when it meets next week. Umatilla County lawmakers say they're struggling with their state's new law and the federal prohibition on marijuana, calling it a "huge conundrum."

In March 2011, Boise Weekly visited the 45th Parallel, a small medical marijuana shop in Ontario, Ore., to find that a number of residents of the Gem State were regularly visiting the store.

"We know of at least 500 clients that have bought property in Oregon just in the last 60 days," said the proprietor. "They don't want to break the law, so this is going to be their new home. Idaho is losing residents, there's no doubt about it."

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