A bill that would expand Oregon’s medical marijuana program to authorize and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries has been endorsed by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who has sent letters to state lawmakers in support of the bill.
House Bill 3460, which is scheduled for a hearing at 4:30 today by the House Ways and Means Committee, would direct the Oregon Health Authority to establish a registration system for medical marijuana dispensaries, which exist in the state but are unregulated and are subject to state and local prosecution.
“Over the past several years approximately 150 medical marijuana facilities have opened and continue to operate in Oregon without regulation on licensure,” Attorney General Rosenblum wrote in a letter of endorsement to the bill’s primary sponsors in the legislature.
“These facilities operate in a climate of uncertain legality, and the absence of a clear regulatory structure makes ensuring compliance with the law difficult. HB 3460 tackles this problem by putting in place a regulatory framework for marijuana facilities, giving the Oregon Health Authority oversight and control over their lawful operation, and thereby ensuring that all persons with a valid Oregon Medical marijuana Program card will be able to obtain medical marijuana safely, predictably, promptly and legally.”
To anyone following marijuana reform in Oregon, the endorsement shouldn’t come as a big surprise. When Rosenblum successfully ran against former U.S. Attorney for Oregon, Dwight Holton, for the office of Attorney General, the medical marijuana community and marijuana reform organizations contributed over $200,000 towards her 2012 election campaign.
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. Passage of HB 3460 will provide authorized patients with legal, state-sanctioned, above-ground safe access to their medicine.
House Bill 3460, 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.
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.
The Oregon League of Cities also endorses the bill, saying that “while there are a number of divergent view points on medical marijuana among Oregon’s cities, there is a common need to ensure that those providing medical marijuana do so in a responsible manner and that patients are not likely to become victims of a crime while seeking a substance a physician has approved them to ingest.”
The Oregon League of Cities also cited that HB 3460 prevents a concentration of medcial marijuana dispensaries to be located in a specific area by preventing dispensaries from being within 1000 feet of another dispensary, and allows cities to adopt local ordinances “in order to tailor requirements to meeet local needs.”
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