SALEM, OR — Lawmakers in the Oregon legislature are expected to vote this week, possibly as early as today, on a bill that would licence and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries statewide.
The bill was approved the Ways and Means committee last Thursday on a 13-2 vote among House members and 6-5 vote among Senate members.
Earlier last week, the bill received endorsements from Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who said that the passage of the bill will help to ensure that all patients with a valid Oregon Medical Marijuana Program card will be able to obtain medical marijuana “safely, predictably, promptly and legally.”
The bill, House Bill 3460, directs the Oregon Health Authority to establish a registration system for medical marijuana facilities. Such facilities exist presently in the state but are unregulated and are subject to state and local prosecution.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Peter Buckley and Sen. Floyd Prozanski, both Democrats, would require medical marijuana facilities to seek a license from the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program similar to the license that patients and registered growers are required to obtain under current law.
The bill sets out a series of regulations the medical marijuana facilities must meet and allows the Oregon Health Authority to draft additional rules and regulations to ensure patients are protected.
Oregonians initially authorized the physician-supervised use of cannabis in 1998. However, the law limits patients’ access to cannabis to either home-cultivation or cultivation by a designated caregiver.
But because there’s no place to legally purchase the medicine in the state, some patients end up turning to the black market. Passage of HB 3460 would finally provide authorized patients with legal, state-sanctioned, above-ground safe access to their medicine.
“Some don’t have a green thumb, while others lack the mobility or strength to do so,” said Donald Morse, a volunteer for the Human Collective, a medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, at a hearing on the bill in April. ”And for some they simply have no more desire to grow their own medicine than they would to raise a chicken for tonight’s dinner.”
House Bill 3460 would set up a medical marijuana facility registration system, authorizing the transfer of medical cannabis to patients. The facilities also would have to comply with regulations for pesticides, mold and mildew testing, which will help ensure medication isn’t contaminated.
Vote Expected This Week on Oregon Medical Marijuana Dispensary Bill was written by Thomas H. Clarke and appears in full on The Daily Chronic.
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