Commissioners hear public testimony on possible moratorium
LEBANON — For at least a couple days, Shawn Aman and his wife, Sarah Whiteley can continue to operate Linn County’s first legal medical marijuana dispensary licensed by the state of Oregon.
But their future depends on whether the Linn County Board of Commissioners approve a one-year moratorium on such operations. The board heard from several people who were in favor of medical marijuana at its April 2 meeting and continued the hearing until 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 16.
But whatever happens, Whiteley is proud of the license for Going Green Compassion that she received Friday. It cost $4,000.
“We applied on March 3, which was the first day we could,” Whiteley said.
The company has already operated for a year as a club for Oregon Medical Marijuana Program card holders at 2999 South Santiam Highway, Lebanon.
It has 1,090 clients.
Prior to getting the license, Going Green Compassion acted as a intermediary for marijuana patients and growers. They could charge a fee for producing or handling marijuana or the numerous oils, tinctures and salves made from its oils.
Now, Going Green Compassion can buy and sell marijuana and establish its own prices, although all customers must be medical marijuana card holders.
Whiteley said prices start at about $10 per gram, or about $240 for an ounce of marijuana, with names like Blue Magoo and Blue Dream.
Customers range from young to old, although Whitely said older customers tend to purchase more capsules or salves. Many also prefer strains of marijuana that contain low amounts of THC — the ingredient that produces a high.
She estimates the low THC products account for about 20 percent of her business.
“Some capsules contain less than 1 percent THC,” Whiteley said. “Yet, they are very high in CBDs which is the medicine component. There’s no high, yet they get the medicine they need.”
Both Whiteley and Aman have medical marijuana cards, as do their employees.
Whiteley said she grew her own marijuana and purchased it from other club dispensaries until she decided there were numerous people in need locally.
Employee Shad Rasmussen said if the commissioners approve a moratorium, “there will be 1,090 people who will have to turn to Craig’s List or to the street to get their medicine. This is a safe place. It is state-regulated. We pay taxes.”
Rasmussen said marijuana can be purchased on the street cheaper than at the dispensary, but customers, especially older customers, are willing to pay more to know that everything sold through the shop has been tested for mold, pesticides and THC content by a laboratory, Going Green Labs, located on-site.
Everything that comes into the shop is tested, and a complete print-out of results is prepared and available in hard copy or online.
He said they also like the safety aspect of the shop, which looks much like a dentist’s office in terms of cleanliness.
“They don’t want to take risks by buying from people on the street,” Rasmussen said.
Although Going Green Compassion offers a wide variety or products, it does not currently sell edibles, though it plans to add them in the future.
It also does not process oils, salves and balms, instead purchasing those items from suppliers.
If the commissioners enact a moratorium on dispensaries, Whiteley hopes Going Green Compassion will be grandfathered in.
“But, either way, we want to work with the commissioners and try to keep on keepin’ on,” Whiteley said. “Now they know we’re here.”