Medford denies business license to pot club

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MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — The Medford City Council rejected an appeal from a medical marijuana club that wants a business license.

Medford police say a business known as The Lounge charged $10 at the door, and patrons with valid medical marijuana cards were given a gram of pot to consume on the premises.

The city doesn't give licenses to businesses engaged in activities illegal under federal, state or local laws, the Mail Tribune newspaper reported (http://is.gd/t2gHAr). Medical marijuana is legal under state law but illegal under federal law.

Phil Studenberg, an attorney for The Lounge, said the matter likely will go to court.

"It's an issue that's going to be resolved somewhere else, but probably not here," Studenberg said Thursday.

Medford officials have been trying to navigate through conflicting laws amid a larger national debate on marijuana. The city has placed a permanent moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, even though dispensaries can receive a license to operate from the state.

The council recently revoked the business license of MaryJane's Attic and MaryJane's Basement. A Jackson County judge then partially reinstated the license, pending a decision on an appeal. The judge allowed MaryJane's to sell clothing, candles and other products, but not dispense medical marijuana.

Kevin McConnell, deputy city attorney, said the owner of The Lounge, Phil Carvalho, indicated he collected the $10 cover to help pay for utilities.

The council unanimously rejected the request for a business license.

Councilman Daniel Bunn said the city's position on medical dispensary laws might be one of the first to make it into the court system.

"It might come down to us," he said. "On this issue, we drew the short straw."

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Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/

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