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Oregon Warns Unlicensed Medical Marijuana Dispensaries To Close

Oregon is warning some unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries to close their doors. This summer, the state has sent letters to nine storefront pot dealers ordering them to shut down.

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There are nearly 200 approved medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon. But an unknown number of unlicensed dispensaries operate openly. They advertise on the internet and that's how state inspectors track them down.

Next comes an on-site visit or a phone call to make sure the dispensary is actually in business. Then the state sends a sternly worded letter telling the owner to cut it out, now.

The potential fine is steep: Up to $500 a day that they remain open. But perhaps more ominously, the state warns that unlicensed dispensary owners are subject to criminal drug dealing charges.

The first legal medical marijuana dispensaries opened this spring. Oregon voters will decide this fall whether to legalize recreational marijuana.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.