Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 8, 2011. Due to a technical error, the original links have been disabled. We apologize for the inconvenience.
As the legislative session is coming to an end, Oregon lawmakers are considerin House Bill 3664, which would add several new restrictions to Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA). A public hearing on the bill in May was well attended by law enforcement and medical marijuana patients and activists.
To summarize, the bill would require licensed growers and caregivers to be at least 21 years of age, and there would be more stringent restrictions on medical marijuana patients under the age of 18. The bill also increases registration fees for grow sites and would require patients to be Oregon residents. Medical marijuana supporters also objected to terms that would require a doctor to find “therapeutic value” in prescribing marijuana; they argue that the standard may be too loosely worded and impossible to meet for some patients that use marijuana to mitigate their symptoms. Perhaps most concerning though is that some of the bill’s provisions require national background checks and also require a list of grow sites to be published to the Oregon State Police several times a year.
If HB 3664 wasn’t enough, on June 3, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, Dwight Holton, joined by a majority of the state’s District Attorneys, issued a warning to those seeking to establish marijuana dispensaries within the state. Though their legal analysis seems rather cursory, the message is clear: if you open a dispensary in Oregon, expect state and federal authorities to be involved.
Regardless of whether HB 3664 becomes law, it appears as though law enforcement is looking to crack down on the nearly 40,000 patients and 25,000 registered growers in the state. Our firm has represented several clients who are OMMP cardholders in a variety of situations, and if you are already a grower or are planning to become one, it is important to be sure you are aware of your rights and the most recent changes in the law. As state and federal prosecutors lobby to tighten regulations, a skilled attorney becomes even more valuable to the program’s participants.