A member of The Weed Blog team, Kaliko, e-mailed one of the members of the Joint Committee tasked with implementing Oregon's new marijuana legalization law. The committee is considering making drastic changes to the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program as part of them getting Oregon ready for recreational marijuana. I have posted several articles this week about Senate Bill 844 and the Dash-6 Amendments and how bad it will be for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program and its participants.
Kaliko e-mailed Representative Peter Buckley today and got a response. I figured I'd post it for TWB readers to see:
Aloha, Esteemed Committee Member!
I'm writing you to urge you to please vote 'NO' on the Senate Bill 844 Dash 6 Amendments because I believe it contains many unnecessary provisions. These burdensome regulations calling for inspections of home grows and limits on plant numbers only affect the most desperate people in the program.
I understand that your committee is tasked with implementing Measure 91 and trying to mitigate the flow of marijuana into the black market, to that end, I urge you to focus on Measure 91 and building a system that people want to participate in. The "abusers" in the OMMP who would be in gross violation of the proposed plant limits will see that there is more profit to be made in the legal markets, if it is done correctly.
These regulations all but ensure that thousands of sick and disabled patients will lose safe access to medicine, hurting their quality of life. Limiting patient gardens and placing unnecessary rules, inspections, fees and reporting requirements on growers will force many out of the medical system and potentially into the black market...which is contradictory to your stated objective.
I appreciate you taking the time to understand a complex issue, and hope that you will vote against the dash 6 amendment to SB 844.
Below is Representative Peter Buckley's response:
Thank you for your email.
The amendment grandfathers in all current grower/patient relationships for this year, and only reduces number of plants for a very small number of current growers after a year (96 plants for grows outside cities, etc., and 24 plants for inside urban residential). Any new grower, someone starting after Jan. 1, 2015, would see lower limits, but we're determined to make sure all patients continue to have access to all medicine they need.
In addition, the amendment allows growers to be compensated for their labor for the first time. So we're trying to get to a place where everybody benefits--patients, growers and neighbors of growers inside urban residential.
Our challenge is to try to ensure enough marijuana for the OMMP and for the M91 outlets as well, and to cut back on the black market at the same time. Without some ability to regulate the amount grown in our state overall, the black market route is a given.
Whatever gets accomplished this session will be revisited in 2016, 2017 and beyond to make sure we are not having a negative impact on patients. That is the priority of the committee.
Thoughts TWB readers?