Four medical marijuana dispensaries in Bend have been denied registration by the Oregon Health Authority since enrollment opened in March, and NewsChannel 21 has learned one of these facilities continues to operate.
Bend police said Tuesday they delivered a letter to CannaCopia Collective, telling owners that the business is out of compliance with state law, and could face civil penalties.
Oregon Health Authority Director of Pharmacy Tom Burns said OHA sent a letter to CannaCopia Collective on April 18th to inform owners the business was not following the rules, noting that it's located within 1,000 feet of another registered marijuana shop -- The Herb Center.
Under state law, that's not allowed.
"CannaCopia is not registered with the Oregon Health Authority, and therefore is not a registered dispensary, and therefore is not authorized to have in its possession as much marijuana as I presume a business would have," Burns said. "We have contacted them and told them they cannot continue to operate."
Burns said the authority also contacted Bend police and the state Attorney General's Office to let them know the business is operating illegally.
Burns said CannaCopia does have the right to an appeal, but can't operate in the meantime.
CannaCopia's owner did not want to comment and referred NewsChannel 21 to attorney Michael Hughes.
Hughes sent a statement to us, saying CannaCopia is not operating illegally:
"The bottom line is that CannaCopia’s license has not been denied and under ORS Section 183, he has a right to challenge the proposed denial," Hughes wrote. "With the right to challenge is the obvious possibility of succeeding, which means CannaCopia's license would not be denied."
Bend police said they do not have the authority at this point to force the business to shut down.
Burns said the next step will be fining the shop $500 a day if it continues to sell medical marijuana without a state license.
We'll have more on the issues surrounding the dispensaries denied by the state in Part 2 of this story Wednesday night.
Also, the Oregon Health Authority plans four hearings around the state later this month on the rules to regulate dispensaries. The first is on Thursday, May 22nd at noon at 1300 NW Wall Street in Bend, followed by sessions in Portland, Eugene and Medford.