Oregon Senate Bill 844, and specifically the Dash-6 Amendments, are the biggest attempted attack on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program since the candidacy of Dwight Holton. A vote on the bill was expected today, but I received a text earlier today from someone very close to the situation who says that the vote has been delayed until at least Monday. Either way, it's vital that activists and supporters keep up the pressure, and keep contacting their elected officials to let them know just how horrible this bill is.
Portland NORML issued a press release earlier today that I've pasted below. Again, it's my understanding that the vote will not occur today, but that is just via text, so take it for what you will, and keep that in mind when you read the press release below, which was issued while I was at work, but I couldn't get it posted until now because I'm on my lunch break:
The Portland chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is rallying supporters of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) to make their voices heard about the proposed Dash-6 Amendments to SB 844, which they argue threatens the continued viability of the OMMP and are expected to come up for a vote during tonight's Joint Committee on Implementing Measure 91 work session.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, there are 5,584 patients who are served by grow sites that cover more than two patients and 2,025 of those patients are served by grow sites that cover more than four patients. Under the Dash-6 Amendments, a grow site in a residential zone could serve only two patients and one outside of a residential zone could serve only four patients.
Dash-6 Amendments guarantee that thousands of patients will be forced to purchase marijuana at dispensaries. However, moratoriums and bans in many localities guarantees hundreds of those patients will be forced back onto the black market to purchase their medicine. And with over 56 percent of Oregon Medical Marijuana Program cardholders on SNAP, OHP, and SSI, these are the most vulnerable marijuana consumers least able to make those adjustments.
Furthermore, the Dash-6 Amendments impose record keeping for seven years, far more onerous than required of producers of any other agricultural commodity.
"These Dash-6 Amendments are like using a hatchet to perform delicate surgery. The legislature is trying to tamp down leakage into the black market, but might actually be driving more patients back into it. Measure 91 clearly called for no changes to the OMMP, and the legislature should honor the will of the voters," says Portland NORML's Executive Director Russ Belville.
For more information about SB 844 and the Dash-6 amendments or about Portland NORML's work representing adult marijuana consumers you can find them at PortlandNORML.org.