February 2014

Bill Threatens Patients' Safe Access to Medicinal Marijuana

By Becky Straus, Legislative Director

The debate is long over in Oregon about the medicinal value of marijuana, yet a bill (SB 1531B) is quickly moving forward in Salem to allow counties and cities to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

Voters approved the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) in 1998. OMMA permits marijuana use for Oregonians suffering from debilitating medical conditions without being in violation of Oregon criminal law.

In 2013, the Legislature passed a bill, enabling a legal and regulated means of getting authorized amounts of marijuana to OMMA patients who cannot grow their own. Licensing and regulating medical marijuana facilities provides consistency across the state for dispensaries and law enforcement. The result is better care and better outcomes for patients.

Reasonable regulations on the time, place, and manner in which dispensaries may operate may be appropriate, but outright bans will have a significant and detrimental effect on patient access to needed medication.