For the last couple of weeks I have been posting articles urging people to contact their Oregon Senators and let them know that you opposed Senate Bill 844. Oregon Senate Bill 844 would have drastically and harmfully altered the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. Among the changes that the bill was calling for included:
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
There were other harmful changes included in the bill and its amendments, but those were the ones that I was sending call to action alerts about. After a lot of hard work by many Oregon activists and members of the medical marijuana community, I'm happy to say that Senate Bill 844 has failed, at least for now. Per Marijuana Politics:
The Oregon Joint Committee on Implementing Measure 91 failed to pass Senate Bill 844, a medical marijuana regulatory bill, that began as an OLCC Measure 91 "technical fix" bill, last night and currently are at an impasse over how they will move forward. Rightfully, patients, advocates and concerned citizens made their voices heard after legislators shirked the major duty in front of them, implementing Measure 91, to unnecessarily decrease patient gardens, impose burdens on providers and allow city councils and county commissions deny safe access points for patients.
Members of this joint committee were certainly advised by numerous advocates, patients and lobbyists to hold off on major medical marijuana restrictions until after Measure 91 gets finally implemented in the latter half of 2016. Jumping the gun to restrict patient gardens, impose new fees and institute more governmental intrusion into the lives of the medical marijuana community has been a huge blunder by several members of the committee, led by Portland Democrat Ginny Burdick.
Senator Burdick was joined by Sen. Lee Beyer and the four Republicans on the committee to not only restrict patients access to medicine by decreasing gardens, but also by allowing cities and counties to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. With the March 1st moratorium allowed by Senate Bill 1531 finally behind us, it is time for patients across the state to have the same safe access as patients in Portland and the other locales allowing dispensaries. Some business interests, operating in Portland and other areas without bans, have been more than willing to continue hurting patients' safe access to medicine by supporting SB 844, but it is great to see activists and public servants willing to stand up for the rights of sick and disabled patients, regardless of where they may live.
This is a great thing for the medical marijuana patients of Oregon, as well as medical marijuana growers across the state. The fight is not over, as I'm sure there will be more attempted attacks on the OMMP, but at least we can all take a breath and prepare for that next battle. I tip my hat to all of the people that worked on this effort. There are too many to name in this article, and many that worked behind the scenes and weren't looking for credit, so I will just say that you know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!