Umatilla County Moratorium Puts Oregon's First Licensed Dispensary Owner Out of Business

Umatilla County Commissioners voted to place a moratorium on medical marijuana.

Jim Ruhe, the owner of the Releaf Center in Umatilla County, was first person in the state of Oregon to get a medical marijuana dispensary license and is now the only person in the sate of Oregon to have their license taken away.

Ruhe opened the Releaf Center in October of 2013.

He said he put in over $50,000 to follow every state regulation.

Ruhe has the most high tech security cameras, door locks that work by finger prints, a detailed record keeping system and specialized vaults where marijuana is stored.

He says all the time and money he put into following the rules feels wasted since the Umatilla County Commissioners voted unanimously for a medical marijuana moratorium.

Ruhe said what he is really most concerned about is his patients.

He said the point of dispensaries was to give patients a safe place to get trusted medicine.

Ruhe said his biggest frustration with the moratorium is that the county feels that this industry is not being regulated and it is their job to police.

"This is not meant to put a burden on them this is not meant for the sheriff to have additional deputies out there to be sure that we are being run properly. There's auditors to do that, and what they need to be concerned with is if there is anything outside of the law that is taking place here. At that point i open my doors to you," said Ruhe.

The Umatilla County Commissioners said they voted for this moratorium because the county wants more time to figure out how to regulate the industry.

Commissioner George Murdock said the county is putting together a task force to look into the industry and figure out the best way to handle everything.

He said the task force hopes to use Ruhe as a resource during this process.

Ruhe said that even though he was the first person in the state of Oregon to get his medical marijuana dispensary license, because the moratorium is in effect and he is no longer practicing, he will have to re apply for a license once the moratorium is lifted.

That will cost him another license application fee of $4,000.

The county wide moratorium will expire May 1st 2015.