Oregon's Measure 74 vs. California's medical pot dispensary law

Oregon's Measure 74 vs. California's medical pot dispensary law

Measure 74: Current law allows specified individuals to become registered growers of medical marijuana by meeting criteria; does not allow marijuana sales or state assistance to cardholders in obtaining marijuana; limits growers to six mature plants and 24 ounces of useable marijuana for each cardholder; limits certain growers to growing for four cardholders; limits growers’ reimbursements. Measure creates medical marijuana supply system composed of licensed dispensaries and producers. Establishes licensing guidelines. Producers and dispensaries can possess 24 plants and 96 ounces of marijuana. Allows limited sales (by expanding cost categories currently not reimbursable). Exempts dispensaries, dispensary employees, and producers from most marijuana criminal statutes. Establishes low income cardholders’ assistance program. Allows state to conduct or fund research of cardholders’ marijuana use. Retains grow registration system. Other provisions. | Info on Measure 74

EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon is poised to join a handful of other states allow medical marijuana dispensaries, if voters approve Measure 74 next week.

The measure would create state-regulated, non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries, similar to California.

Supporters say Oregon's measure has an important difference: the state will determine regulations, not local governments.

"By having the model built in advance, we're able to keep it in control at all times," said Oregon medical marijuana patient Jim Greig, also a member of Voter Power

The goal is to avoid a situation similar to Los Angeles.

Earlier this year, the Los Angeles city council approved an ordinance that was limit the number of dispensaries to 70.  The ordinance was a response to the hundreds of dispensaries that opened their doors before the city began regulating.
 
In California, regulation is left up to local governments so the number of dispensaries and rules governing them varies widely.

For example, there are just four licensed cannabis clubs in Oakland.  The city council is mulling new legislation that would increase to eight.

Measure 74 would required dispensaries and growers to register with the state, unlike California's law.  It also directs the Oregon Health Authority to set rules about dispensary locations, inspections and licensing.

A spokeswoman for the state Public Health department said, because of laws preventing state agencies from campaigning, they have not discussed how Measure 74 would be enforced or implemented.  That research begins only after voters pass measures.

Dispensaries are already being opened in the state, said Greig, adding this is Oregon's chance to do things right.

"People need their medicine. It's going to happen," said Greig.  "At least with Measure 74, it's going to have some regulation, keep the guidelines."
     
But not everyone agrees.

Detective Ray Myers of Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, who is a member of the Rogue Drug Enforcement Team in Southern Oregon, said Measure 74's regulations will not make a difference because they don't address abuse of the program.

"It's difficult right now to investigate and prosecute people we believe are involved in the abuses of the Oregon Medical Marijuana program," he said. "This adds two more levels to that."

Myers, who discussed the ballot measure on his vacation time, said officers need search warrants to inspect medical marijuana grows.  They are difficult to obtain unless a user gives testimony, so many grows police suspect are illegal because of size, go uninspected.

"There's nothing in there [Measure 74] that says mandatory, surprise inspections," he said.