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Aug-01-2018 16:20printcomments

OMMP Inspectors Targeting Small-Scale Grows With 1-2 Patients

Oregon inspectors are picking random medical growers and giving a one day phone call warning.

cannabis
"It's Just a Plant" is the common sense message this child conveyed at the 2018 Global Cannabis March in Portland (May 2018).
Photo by Bonnie King

(SALEM, Ore.) - To Catch A Grower: Inspectors for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program are fanning out across the state during the month of August to inspect medical grow sites that claimed a reduction in the number of patients they are growing for to 2 or less sick people.

OMMP is suspicious of these small-time growers because growing for "fewer than three" patients means the farmer is not legally required to use the Cannabis Tracking System. So, if you only have two patients, beware a suit at your door.

If however, you are an adult in Oregon, and want to grow FOUR plants "recreationally" and share the harvest with any other adults in the state, no problem, just don't charge for it. These small-farm growing regulation inspections are only for those providing for the sick and dying.

In 2017 the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 1057, which requires certain medical grow sites and all dispensaries and processing sites to use the CTS. At the time, OMMP predicted that about 3,800 grow sites would be required to use CTS. That estimate dropped to 2,400 after the 2018 legislative session, when SB 1544 passed and modified how qualifying grow sites are determined.

Now any grow site with more than two patients must use CTS.

Between April and July 2018, around 1,000 OMMP registered grow sites reduced the number of patients they grow for to below the CTS threshold. Patients without growers immediately became a problem for thousands of chronically ill Oregonians.

Two hundred of those quit growing completely and the rest are now growing for only one or two patients. These types of restrictions have resulted in many people leaving the program completely, because they don't have the energy or money to keep up with the bureaucracy.

Staff members from OMMP’s Compliance Unit will inspect a random sample of the remaining 800 medical marijuana grow sites that reported reducing the number of patients to below the CTS threshold (2 or less) to be sure they're not actually over-growing, and selling to the black market.

For some reason, the State believes this "Catch a Grower" campaign is a high priority. So, to expedite, the Compliance Unit has drastically reduced the amount of time grow sites will be notified in advance of an inspection.

Normally, grow sites are given a 10-day notice of an impending inspection via letter, followed by phone call 24 to 30 hours before the site visit.

Not so for these specific targeted inspections.

Compliance staff members will attempt to make phone contact the day before an inspection so someone will be at the grow site. There will be NO 10-day notice letter.

If you grow for 1 or 2 patients, take this seriously, because OMMP is.

There are costly consequences for failure to cooperate with an inspection. In addition to civil penalties of up to $500 FINE/day, failure to respond to OMMP inspectors may also result in formal action against the registration of a person responsible for a medical grow site, including revocation.

Patients desperately need their growers to continue their quest to provide their medicine, so be prepared for inspections.

If you only grow recreationally, be at ease, the man is not after you. Yet.

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1 (CTS) is administered by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Source(s): OMMP (www.healthoregon.org/ommp)

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