Oregon Medical Marijuana Program Under Attack

   

As a businessman myself, I usually don’t begrudge people for making a profit. But as an activist, brought up under the apprenticeship of cannabis icon Jack Herer, I have to speak my mind when money and profits are put ahead of the people, the voters and disabled patients; especially under the cover of darkness, in back-room deals without any public hearing. This is why I am asking Oregonians to contact the Oregon Measure 91 Implementation Committee and urge them to vote “NO” on the “Dash 6” Amendments to Senate Bill 844.

Senate Bill 844 started out as a simple two page bill that has allowed the Measure 91 Committee to consider “technical” fixes and clarifications sought by the OLCC when regulating Measure 91. However, amendments released on Friday afternoon, just before 5pm, would change the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act as we know it. This is an unprecedented maneuver by the legislative committee. This 89-page “amendment” is being sneaked in at the last minute in an apparent attempt to catch the Oregon cannabis community and everyone who cares about patients, off-guard. We cannot let this happen.

Amendments to a bill don’t have to undergo the same public hearing requirements that a stand-alone bill must hold; while this may make sense some of the time, it is an insult to patients and a mockery of our democratic process. These “Dash 6” amendments will decrease the number of patients that growers may provide for; institute fees on growers; allow for home inspections of even personal gardens; mandate extensive reporting and record-keeping; and allow OHA bureaucrats to call the police for any violation of the rules. Unfortunately, the “Dash 6” amendments will push growers into either the recreational system or onto the black market as many won’t want to jump through the hoops to continue growing for sick and disabled patients.

More than 40% of medical marijuana patients are on some type of low-income assistance program with the state, unable to purchase from dispensaries or on the black market. It is imperative that we stand up for sick and disabled patients as they can’t afford to hire high-priced lobbyists that protect various special interest groups. Despite the fact that I own medical marijuana clinics, I supported the Measure 91 legalization proposal that could decrease the number of patients, as many people might feel that they no longer need a medical card after legalization. Measure 91 was explicitly clear that it wasn’t intended to change the medical program, yet some legislators apparently are willing to go against the will of the voters.

I have no qualms about people making money selling recreational marijuana for a profit. But I draw the line on making making exorbitant profits on the back of sick and disabled patients, be it growers, retailers or the state. Let’s honor the will of the voters and protect patients’ access to medical cannabis.

IMPORTANT CALL TO ACTION:

The Measure 91 Committee is starting to consider amendments that will severely impact the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. These amendments are being attached to Senate Bill 844. While the amendment contains some beneficial provisions for the OMMA, it unnecessarily restricts patient grow sites and places too many barriers upon medical marijuana providers. Some of the more troubling provisions:

  • Starting on March 1, 2016, grow sites in residential areas will only be able to grow for 2 patients maximum (12 plants); non-residential locations will only be able to grow for 8 total (48 plants).
  • Growers will be subjected to a fee and inspections (even for personal grows)
  • Growers will have to report monthly to the state and keep records up to 7 years.
  • Any violation of the rules allows OHA to contact law enforcement.

Please send emails to the Measure 91 Committee immediately and then follow up with phone calls today, and let them know that they should vote “NO” on the Senate Bill “Dash 6” amendments. The 89 page “Dash 6” amendment was sneaked onto Monday’s agenda late Friday afternoon, amending a two page bill. There is a special rule that allows legislators to pass an amendment, even if it has nothing to do with the original bill, without holding a public hearing with public testimony. It is imperative that you act now to help protect Oregon’s patients and their safe access to medicine.

 

IMPORTANT ACTION #1Please email the Measure 91 Committee immediately and state: “Please vote ‘NO’ on the Senate Bill 844 “Dash 6″ Amendments because thousands of sick and disabled patients will lose safe access to medicine, hurting their quality of life. Limiting patient gardens and placing unnecessary rules, inspections, fees and reporting requirements on growers will force many out of the medical system and potentially into the black market.”  

 

 

IMPORTANT ACTION #2: Make calls on Monday, April 27, before 4pm and state what you emailed: “Please vote ‘NO’ on the Senate Bill 844 “Dash 6″ Amendments because thousands of sick and disabled patients will lose safe access to medicine, hurting their quality of life. Limiting patient gardens and placing unnecessary rules, inspections, fees and reporting requirements on growers will force many out of the medical system and potentially into the black market.”

 

Sen. Ginny Burdick: 503-986-1718
Rep. Peter Buckley: 503-986-1405
Sen. Floyd Prozanski: 503-986-1704
Rep. Ken Helm: 503-986-1434
Sen. Jeff Kruse: 503-986-1701
Sen. Ted Ferrioli: 503-986-1950
Sen. Lee Beyer: 503-986-1706
Rep. Ann Lininger: 503-986-1438
Rep. Carl Wilson: 503-986-1403
Rep. Andy Olson: 503-986-1415

Thank you so much for standing up for the OMMA and patients’ access to medicine,

 

Alex Rogers

Alex Rogers

Alex Rogers is co-owner of Marijuana Politics. He is an experienced cannabis law reform advocate, getting his start in the 1990s under the tutelage of legendary activist Jack Herer. Alex is also CEO of Ashland Alternative Health, and Northwest Alternative Health, medical cannabis clinics that help register patients with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. Additionally, Alex is the executive producer of industry business conferences that work to further professionalize and mainstream the cannabis and hemp industries. He started the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference (OMMBC), the first medical marijuana business conference of its kind in Oregon. Following the success of the OMMBC, Rogers started organizing the first International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC), a unique event bringing in activists and entrepreneurs with valuable experience from across the globe.