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Jan-08-2010 13:16printcomments

Oregon Medical Marijuana Initiative Would Establish Dispensaries

New initiative to regulate medical marijuana will turn in signatures Monday January 11, 2010.

marijuana cannabis
Medical marijuana garden, 2009. File photo

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Backers of a new medical marijuana initiative announced today that they have collected over 75,000 signatures on petitions to place Initiative #28 on the November 2010 ballot.

The new initiative would add a regulated supply system of dispensaries and producers to the current medical marijuana law which requires patients to produce their own medicine.

Backers need 82,769 valid signatures by July 2, 2010 to place the measure on the November ballot. New election laws requires all chief petitioners to turn in signatures collected by paid circulators monthly.

All paid signatures collected so far must be turned in by January 15. Backers of I-28 will hold a press conference in the media room of the State Capitol at 11:00 a.m. Monday January 11 before chief petitioners turn the signatures in to the Secretary of State’s office at 11:30 a.m.

These are the first signatures turned in under the new election law.

“When we drafted the original Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, we didn’t include provisions for dispensaries because federal law prohibited that. But now that the Obama administration has indicated that they will allow states to regulate medical marijuana, Oregon needs to create a regulated system so every patient can access quality controlled medicine,” said John Sajo, Executive Director of the Voter Power Foundation, a group which advocates for medical marijuana patients.

Current law allows patients to grow 6 mature marijuana plants or to designate a grower to do it for them. For many patients, producing their own medicine is a big headache. But it remains a felony for anyone to sell them marijuana.

I-28 will allow nonprofit dispensaries to sell marijuana to registered patients. Licensed producers will grow the marijuana and sell it to dispensaries. Both dispensaries and producers will be subject to inspection and auditing by the health department. All employees will have to be over 21 years old and pass criminal background checks. Dispensaries can’t be located near schools or in residential areas and must submit security plans with their applications to DHS.

“This initiative gives the Health Department the authority to create a tightly regulated system that will provide access to patients while minimizing abuse.”

I-28 also creates a program administered by the health department which will provide medicine to indigent patients. “Some patients have no money and Medicare or insurance won’t help them get medical marijuana. We need a state program that helps the neediest patients,” said Geri Kulp, clinic director for Voter Power. “The current law is just too hard for the sickest patients.”

The initiative also allows DHS to conduct research into the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana. Backers foresee a process where DHS does the research necessary to establish quality control standards for medical marijuana.

“Right now patients really don’t know much about the medicine they are growing. Quality control standards will result in medicine labeled with the strength of the active ingredients as well as certified to be free of contaminants. This will allow doctors to advise patients about proper dosage," said Sajo. "Research will also indicate how marijuana can be best used for various medical conditions.” I-28 does not change which medical conditions qualify a patient under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.

I-28 will be funded by license fees and taxes on dispensaries and producers. The law prohibits using general fund revenue for the program. Advocates say it won’t be necessary. Voter Power Foundation estimates indicate that I-28 will raise $10 million-$40 million the first year. Any revenue exceeding the costs to administer the program will be spent by DHS on other health programs.

Initiative 28 is not the legalization of marijuana. There are several other marijuana initiatives filed. One would legalize marijuana. Another would repeal the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act and replace it with a program of taxpayer subsidized Marinol, a pharmaceutical form of synthetic THC.

Polling commissioned by Voter Power showed that 59% of Oregon voters support the measure and 32% oppose it. Maine voters approved a similar measure on November 4 2009, by a 58%-42% margin.

The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program currently has over 30,000 patients that have been registered by over 3000 different Oregon physicians.

13 states have medical marijuana laws.

California, Colorado, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Maine have medical marijuana laws that allow dispensaries. Arizona will have a dispensary initiative on the 2010 ballot.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Raven October 29, 2010 12:32 am (Pacific time)

I agree with being able to grow for more than 4 patients at one grow site .. at the moment I grow for 6 in 2 sites .. and have more who want my assistance cause they can not find a grower .. so yes to be able to have more than 4 per site should change I .. for one voted NO .. cause I agree with people who say they will have us at the mercy of them . we should be able to grow for ourself and help who we can .. the government just always wants control over everything .so that is my story and I am stickin to it ... i can rant forever .. so better close here

DR Kush May 26, 2010 8:02 am (Pacific time)

Dude you are a licsened grower for 14 you will be able to sell left over medicine to the dispensaries and make ends meet :)(:

Brotherbob May 12, 2010 9:31 am (Pacific time)

Yeah!and in the long run we will lose our right to grow and we will be at thier mercy charging whatever they want for our medicine!

River Walker March 7, 2010 10:11 pm (Pacific time)

As I read the tax act it still allows for you to grow your own meds this would not change.However there are groups that help people get meds for free would probably go the way of the horse and carriage.As it is we would not be able to sell any M.M.s for any amount.Which is really tuff on us who can't help ourselves!Nothing is free in this old world.As i understand we don't have enough growers to fill the extreme need 1 grower for every 14 clients here in Oregon so we have to do something.

Stone Smith February 17, 2010 3:30 pm (Pacific time)

Legalization and taxation follow the right path. I believe the medical marijuana folk are trying to create a monopoly on production and distribution.

Roy February 17, 2010 9:08 am (Pacific time)

From what I have read, Colorado's law does not contain wording in regards to distribution of medicine.

Steve January 11, 2010 7:05 pm (Pacific time)

What this does not mention is if this will change the existing law that allows you to grow your own medicine? If it will change it and prohibit the growing of your own medicine then that will make it very difficult for many people. I know people who have their cards and are growing their own medicine. If they have to buy if from a dispensary they will not be able to afford their medicine. I hope that this just expands the current law and does not modify it too much.

Rob January 10, 2010 12:47 pm (Pacific time)

Why not tax recreational use marijuana and provide the Medicinal free of taxes. I find it sickening that that those in power manage to steal our money any way they can while ignoring the costs to humanity and pretending to bang the freedom drum. Trends are pointing to the fact that our every day freedoms are slowly being infringed upon by corporate monopolies and our beloved government. Meanwhile, you and I pay $200 each and every year for Marijuana Prohibition. "Marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers $41.8 billion every year in law enforcement expenses and revenues lost to government at all levels, according to a new report released today." "Marijuana prohibition diverts the entire $113 billion in sales from the legal, taxed economy. Based on the White House Office of Management and Budget's estimate that 28.7 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product goes to federal, local, and state governments as tax revenue, marijuana prohibition costs $31.1 billion in lost tax revenues annually" 41,000,000,000/ (304,059,724 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division - 25% Population that doesn't taxes = $200 Per Citizen I am sure everyone that reads this could use the extra $200 dollars that does nothing in the utterly failed "War on Drugs" Alcohol Prohibition Never worked and Neither will Marijuana Prohibition. It is such a waste of money to delay the Inevitable. In the mean time we could divert the resources towards more pressing matters like airline security or our crumbling infrastructure or our tanked economy.

Jeff Kaye~ January 8, 2010 4:53 pm (Pacific time)

Residents from Other States: Medical marijuana patients from other states who are valid medical marijuana patients under that state's law are protected under Section 4(8) of the Montana Medical Marijuana Act [Sec. 50-46-201(8), MCA]. A registry identification card or its equivalent issued by another state government to permit the medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or to permit a person to assist with a qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana has the same force and effect as a registry identification card issued by the Department of Public Health and Human Services in Montana.

Editor: Jeff, you're the best, thanks for running that down.

Mike in Gresham, Oregon January 8, 2010 3:02 pm (Pacific time)

It seems like taxing the sick is bad for Oregon. The state would become dependent on the funds created from patients, just like they are Oregon lottery funds. Are prescriptions taxed at Wal-greens? I do think there needs to be a better system to aid patients in need. I would support Marijuana legalization for all, like alcohol.

The Healing Center Montana January 8, 2010 2:19 pm (Pacific time)

Montana has dispensaries NOW!!
I know I run the largest non profit in the state.
Come visit us while on vacation in Montana
Thanks Mike From THC Montana

Editor to Mike: Congratulations Mike, I am approving this but in the future please consider advertising with us.  We are inexpensive and can help a lot; we have put a lot on the line in recent years covering medical pot, traditional business don't always understand. 

Tim King

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