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Two Redmond councilors urge city to prepare for federally legal marijuana dispensaries

(Update: Adding video, comments from Ed Fitch, dispensary owner)

Wants workshop on 'proactive' steps if federal government passes legalization

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- One Redmond city councilor is urging the council to get ready for allowing marijuana dispensaries in the city, if or when federal law changes, and he has support from at least one colleague.

Right now, if you live in Redmond and want to buy legal marijuana, you have to go Bend or another city to do it.

Hunter Neubauer, co-founder of Oregrown, a Bend dispensary, told NewsChannel 21: “I’m sure there’s a decent amount of people that come from Redmond (to Bend to buy marijuana products).”

Neubauer said he’d love to open a shop in Redmond.

“We think we’d do a great job of representing the industry, as we do here in Bend,” he said. “And being more involved in the city of Redmond as it grows is something we’re interested in as well.”

But that’s a no-go right now. Despite marijuana’s legalization in Oregon, Redmond’s code requires it follow all federal regulations. And cannabis has yet to be taken off the federal controlled substance list.

But Redmond City Councilor Ed Fitch said that may change soon.

“I do think it probably will (be taken off the controlled list) before the next election,” he told NewsChannel 21 Monday.

In anticipation of legalization, fellow City Councilor Clifford Evelyn is proposing to have a workshop early next year for the council to prepare.

Fitch agrees.

“We need to address the issue, get all the facts around it,” Fitch said. “What would be the revenue stream? I know it’s been cut quite a bit. What would be the impact on the community? Where would it be logical to have these places?

One place Fitch isn’t so sure he’d like to see marijuana dispensaries is in downtown Redmond, but he said other spots around town would be good.

"We should have some regional access for those who want to purchase marijuana, rather than go to Bend or some other community to do it," he said.

And Neubauer said customers would be the winners.

"It's tough to see people drive 30 minutes to get a product they can't get in their own town," he said.

The council will meet in a special session Tuesday evening discuss the request and other agenda items. Evelyn has requested that a work session be scheduled for February.

Article Topic Follows: Redmond
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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.

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