Proponents of a statewide initiative to regulate the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana have turned in 145,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office. The total is almost twice the number of signatures from registered voters necessary to place the measure on the 2014 electoral ballot.
State officials have until August 2 to verify the signatures.
The proposed ballot initiative (Initiative Petition 53) seeks to regulate the personal possession (up to eight ounces), commercial cultivation, and retail sale of cannabis to adults. Taxes on the commercial sale of cannabis under the plan are estimated to raise some $88 million in revenue in the first two years following the law’s implementation. Adults who engage in the non-commercial cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis (up to four plants) for personal use will not be subject to taxation.
A statewide Survey USA poll released last month reported that 51 percent of Oregon adults support legalizing the personal use of marijuana. Forty-one percent of respondents, primarily Republicans and older voters, oppose the idea. The poll did not survey respondents as to whether they specifically supported the proposed 2014 initiative.
Alaska voters will decide on a similar legalization initiative in November. Polling data shows that 55 percent of registered voters back the plan, while 39 percent oppose it. Florida voters will also decide in November on a constitutional amendment to allow for the physician-authorized use of cannabis therapy. A May 2014 Quinnipiac University poll reported that Floridians support permitting physicians to authorize medical marijuana to patients by a margin of 88 percent to 10 percent.
The law tasks the Oregon Health Authority with crafting rules and regulations over the following nine months to govern the new statewide distribution system.
Oregon voters initially approved a statewide initiative in 1998 mandating state lawmakers to allow for physicians to authorize qualified patients to consume and grow cannabis. However, that law did not explicitly provide legal protections for outlets that wished to dispense the substance to authorized patients.
Presently, an estimated 200 unlicensed cannabis dispensing facilities are operating throughout the state. An estimated 57,000 Oregonians are registered with the state to consume cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, DC now have licensed medical cannabis dispensaries up and running. (California dispensaries are not licensed by the state.) Similar dispensary outlets are in the process of opening in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Nevada and New Hampshire.
Members of the Oregon House and Senate have given final approval to House Bill 3460, which licenses medicinal cannabis dispensaries statewide.
Senate members approved an amended version of the bill by an 18 to 12 vote on July 3. House members had previously passed the bill in June. Members signed off on the Senate’s amendments this past weekend.
House Bill 3460 “directs [the] Oregon Health Authority to establish a registration system for medical marijuana facilities.” The department has until March 2014 to draft rules regulating dispensaries. Such facilities exist presently in the state but are unregulated and remain subject to state and local prosecution. Officials expect to register an estimated 225 dispensaries in the first two years.
Oregonians initially authorized the physician-supervised use of cannabis in 1998. However, the law limits patients’ access to cannabis to either home-cultivation or cultivation by a designated caregiver.
House Bill 3460 was publicly supported of Oregon’s Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum. The measure now awaits approval from Gov. John Kitzhaber.
Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, and Rhode Island have state-licensed medical cannabis dispensaries up and running. (California dispensaries are not licensed by the state.) Similar dispensary outlets are in the process of opening in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington, DC.
Members of the Oregon House and Senate have given final approval to two separate legislative measures, Senate Bill 40 and Senate Bill 82, to reduce penalties related to certain marijuana possession offenses.
Senate Bill 40 amends the criminal code to reclassify marijuana offenses involving the possession of over one ounce, but less than four ounces of marijuana, from a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison, to a Class B misdemeanor. It also reclassifies offenses involving the possession of less than 1/4 ounce of hashish from a felony to a Class B misdemeanor. The measure also reduces the fine presently associated with civil violations involving the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.
Senate Bill 82 eliminates the suspension of driving privileges for those cited civilly for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana.
Both bills now await action from Democrat Gov. John Kitzhaber. If signed into law, the changes will take effect immediately upon passage.
Oregon: Governor Signs Measure to Expand State’s Medical Cannabis Program to Include Patients With Post Traumatic StressJune 7, 2013
Democrat Gov. John Kitzhaber on Thursday signed legislation, Senate Bill 281, into law to allow patients with post-traumatic stress to be eligible to engage in the therapeutic use of cannabis.
The new Oregon law expands the state’s existing medical marijuana program, initially enacted by voters in 1998, to include post-traumatic stress as a state-qualified illness for which marijuana may be recommended.
To date, only three states – Connecticut, Delaware, and New Mexico – specifically allow for the use of cannabis to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
Clinical trial data published in the May issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry theorized that cannabinoid-based therapies would likely comprise the “next generation of evidence-based treatments for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).”
Post-traumatic stress syndrome is an anxiety disorder that is estimated to impact some eight million Americans annually. To date, there are no pharmaceutical treatments specifically designed or approved to target symptoms of PTSD.