Oregon House Gives Final Approval to Bill To Regulate Medical Marijuana Facilities
I'm encouraging everyone of our readers to donate to Oregonians for Medical Rights, who led the lobbying efforts that resulted in the amazing (and much needed) victory that is described below:
Oregon becomes the 13th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries as the Oregon House today gave final approval of a measure to license and regulate the approximately 200 dispensaries operating in Oregon today.
"This Legislature has stepped up and tackled many difficult issues this session. Our work to regulate dispensaries will provide a framework for a safer system for patients and for our communities," said State Rep. Peter Buckley, chief sponsor of House Bill 3460.
Approval of the bill is the final accomplishment of a Legislature that passed significant legislation around marijuana reform. Also passed this session were bills to reduce criminal sentences for marijuana possession (SB 40), add PTSD as a condition to the Oregon medical marijuana act (SB 281) and an end to the automatic suspension of the 6-month driver's license when caught with marijuana (SB 82).
"This legislature took a calm and controlled look at issues related to marijuana and the medical marijuana program and passed a number of very sensible reforms that will save money, improve access to medicine for patients and stop some very wasteful spending on marijuana related investigations and prosecutions," said Geoff Sugerman, a director with
Oregonians for Medical Rights. "This is by far the most significant and successful session regarding marijuana reform since passage of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act in 1998."
Now, said Sam Chapman, a director of Oregonians for Medical Rights, dispensaries will operate under a set of rules that are designed to ensure safe access to medicine.
"From requiring testing for pesticides, molds and mildews to security systems and tracking of marijuana that comes in and goes out, these medical marijuana facilities will have to abide by a number of strict rules as we professionalize and improve the program," said Chapman. "These rules and regulations will also give law enforcement clear directives on what is allowed and not allowed under the program."
Following passage of the bill, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program will engage in a nine-month process to draft additional rules. By March, 2014 those rules should be complete.
"Between now and then we will be closely following that rule making process and advising facilities how to come into compliance with the regulations outlined in HB 3460," said Sugerman. "As we move forward, we should do so carefully and always with patient and community safety in mind."