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New Initiative for Regulated Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Bound for Oregon BallotBonnie King Salem-News.com
Sick and dying patients in Oregon may soon have an option to “growing their own”.
(SALEM, Ore.) - Sponsors of a new medical marijuana initiative announced that they have collected nearly 130,000 signatures on petitions to place Initiative #28 on Oregon’s 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.
The Coalition for Patients’ Rights 2010, working with Voter Power, needed to turn in a total of 82,769 valid signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State by July 2, 2010, to place the measure on the November ballot. Backers of the dispensary initiative turned in over 109,000 signatures by the May 20 early turn-in deadline. On June 18th, the Elections Division released the results of their verification that indicated that 74,537 (68%) of these signatures were valid and that 8,232 more signatures were needed.
At 1:00 p.m. on Friday, the chief petitioners, Jim Klahr, Alice Ivany, and Anthony Johnson submitted 22,879 additional signatures. “We need less than half of this final submission to be valid to qualify, so we are very confident the dispensary initiative will be on the ballot this fall,” said John Sajo Director of Voter Power.
The Oregon Regulated Medical Marijuana Supply System, which I-28 creates, will be funded by license fees and taxes on dispensaries and producers. Read the entire Initiative text here: http://www.sos.state.or.us/elections/irr/2010/028text.pdf.
Polling commissioned by Voter Power showed that 59% of Oregon voters support the measure.
Current law requires patients to grow (up to) 6 mature marijuana plants or to designate a grower to do it for them. Producing their own medicine is a big headache for many sick and ill patients, and for some is literally impossible, but it remains a felony for anyone to sell them marijuana.
I-28 will allow licensed nonprofit dispensaries to sell medical 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 will not 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,” Sajo said.
I-28 also creates a program administered by the health department which will provide medicine to indigent patients, and 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.
“Quality control standards will result in medicine labeled with the strength of the active ingredients and certified to be free of contaminants. This will allow doctors to advise patients about proper dosage,” added Sajo. ”Research will also indicate how marijuana can be best used for various medical conditions.”
The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program was approved by voters in 1998, and currently has nearly 40,000 patients that have been registered by over 3200 different Oregon physicians. There are thirteen other states where medical marijuana is legal, and several more will be going in front of voters this fall.
For more information on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, go to: http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/ommp/index.shtml
Bonnie King has been with Salem-News.com since August '04, when she became Publisher. Bonnie has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", posts as TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and Newspapers In Education/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER). Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers. View articles written by Bonnie King
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