Oregon legislature close to approving medical marijuana dispensary regulation bill


Oregon legislators are set to vote this week – possibly even today – on creating a program through the state health department to regulate medical marijuana businesses.
Legislators say the program is needed because dispensaries currently operate under a hodgepodge of regulations while advocates point out that keeping dispensaries legal and operation is key to patient medicine access. Not every one of the 53,000 registered medical marijuana has the ability to grow cannabis, and medical marijuana centers allow a safe and legal point to procure their pot.

House Bill 3460, which was approved in the Ways and Means Committee last week, is much more hands-off than approaches in states like Colorado and Arizona have been. Oregon’s law would not authorize new taxes and the system would only collect application fees to be self-sufficient. Cannabis would also be tested for mold, mildew and pesticides.
Oregon medical marijuana laws, passed in 1998, did not expressly allow for medical cannabis businesses – only for patients and private caregivers. More than 150 cannabis collectives have popped up in recent years citing various laws allowing them to operate, but they still face local and state prosecution without codified state laws.
The bill has some very high-profile supporters, namely Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. Last week she came out in favor of the legislation saying that it allows patients to “obtain medical marijuana safely, predictably, promptly and legally.” She also pointed out that the registry system would allow the state a series of checks and balances.
“These facilities have opened and continue to operate in Oregon without regulation or licensure,” she wrote. “These facilities operate in a climate of uncertain legality, and the absence of a clear regulator structure makes ensuring compliance with the law difficult.”
The Oregon League of Cities has also come out in favor of the bill, saying that while they don’t all agree on allowing medical marijuana collectives, they do want to “do so in a responsible manner.”