Medical use backer wants end to North Bend's marijuana ban

North Bend’s moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries is illegal, claims medical marijuana proponent Steve Sarich. Further, if the city upholds the moratorium, approved as an emergency action June 7, he threatens a lawsuit.

Sarich, a North Bend resident, addressed the council at its July 19 public hearing on the issue.

Although the hearing was held after the moratorium was approved, City Administrator Duncan Wilson said the hearing’s testimony would be considered, and he expected that “we will be coming back to (council) at your next meeting with any necessary findings of fact, conclusions of law, and alterations to the moratorium, up to and including repealing it.”

A repeal was one of Sarich’s suggestions, because “if you pass something that says ... people can’t produce medical marijuana in this town, I’ll be forced to sue you,” he said.

Sarich’s recommendation, however was for the city to create a working group with him and collaborate.

“I’m not here to threaten the city of North Bend, I want to be a good neighbor. You have somebody living here who really does understand the law,” he said. “You can write a good ordinance that will withstand court challenge, and still serve patients.”

Mayor Ken Hearing asked for Sarich to provide his statements to the council in writing for their review.

The council meets August 2 to consider amendments to shorten the moratorium to six months, and to allow communal gardens.

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