State says Portland's mobile medical marijuana cart illegal

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — It didn't take long for an entrepreneur to combine two of Portland's favorite things: marijuana and food carts.

But state officials aren't thrilled. The Oregon Health Authority on Monday said the Smoke Buddy, a mobile cart selling medical marijuana, is illegal.

The agency's spokesman, Jonathan Modie, said operating a mobile service or a medicine delivery service is not allowed under the state dispensary rules. The prohibition includes sales at farmers markets, drive-thru windows and mobile dispensaries.

According to Modie, a facility must operate at a particular location to be registered. And any transfer of marijuana to or from a dispensary must take place at the registered address. Needless to say, Modie said, the Smoke Buddy isn't registered with the state dispensary program.

And since it's not registered, he said, the Health Authority has no power to cite it, fine it or shut it down, he said.

"It's a law enforcement issue," said Modie, adding that the state has passed on information about the marijuana cart to city officials.

Sgt. Pete Simpson, a Portland police spokesman, said if the mobile cart has more than one ounce of marijuana on board, it would be a violation of state law and the operator could be arrested or issued a citation for a misdemeanor.

"Practically speaking though," Simpson said, "unless we get a neighborhood complaint and an officer is called to the scene, it is not something we'll devote resources to address."

The Smoke Buddy has been operating for about a week, visiting several Portland neighborhoods.

According to The Oregonian ( ), the mobile cart was built by Portland residents Larry and Jessica, who declined to give their surnames. The couple says they don't sell the marijuana — they give it away for free — but customers can make donations for the waterproof containers in which the marijuana is packaged.