FAQs about Oregon's medical marijuana law

FAQs about Oregon's medical marijuana law »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. -- In November, Oregon voters will make a decision about medical marijuana dispensaries.

KVAL News wants you to make an informed decision about Initiative 28, which would allow state-run dispensaries to sell marijuana.

Under current Oregon law, patients with certain medical conditions can have, grow and use marijuana for therapy. However, patients must either grow the pot themselves or have someone else grow it for them. They cannot buy it.

So, what exacatly is medical Marijuana anyway?

In the state of Oregon, patients with debilitating conditions can apply to the state department of public health to use marijuana to ease their conditions.

Thousands of card-carrying patients right here in Lane County use medical marijuana to treat debilitating conditions.  
By state law, doctors can recommend marijuana use for these ailments: Cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, severe pain, severe muscle spasms, seizures and Cachexia, and some conditions brought on my Alzheimers. The majority of patients -- 65 percent -- use it for pain.

How do patients get medical marijuana?

A patient must fill out an application to the state department of public health. That application must be signed by a state-licensed doctor indicating that they believe marijuana use could help the patient's condition.

If approved, the patient can receive a medical marijuana card and is thereby allowed to legally use it as therapy.

How many people have the card?

As of July 1, 2010, there are more than 36,000 card carriers in Oregon. There are about 4,000 in Lane County.

Last year, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program received about 24,000 applications. About 1,000 people were denied.

Who can grow medical marijuana?

Under current law, a card carrying patient can either grow pot themselves or designate someone else to grow it for them.

Either way the grower and grow site must be indicated on the application.

Once a grower is designated, they must have a medical marijuana grower's card. They also may not have more than six mature plants at a time.

Between a grower, patient and/or primary caregiver there must not be more than 24 ounces of useable marijuana between them.

That's about the size of four softballs.

Right now there can be no exchange of money between a grower and a patient, but Initiative 28 could change all that and allow for dispensaries to sell the pot.

Many patients say the current setup doesn't work and that it can make them feel like criminals.

Watch KVAL News on Thursday, July 22, to hear a medical marijuana patient talk about how dispensaries would help. On Friday, KVAL News will look at how law enforcement feels about the possibility of dispensaries.