Overall, cannabis legalization has been a success for Oregon and other states, a much better policy than prohibition for sure. As a recent report published in NPR notes, much-needed jobs have been created and revenue generated while violent crime and traffic accidents haven’t skyrocketed as Reefer Madness Chicken Littles like Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts proclaim. However, improvements to our cannabis laws can certainly be made, including providing better service to the thousands of patients registered with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP).
At its peak in 2015, there were more than 78,000 OMMP patients and we are now down to under 23,000. While too many people think that we don’t need the OMMP anymore, especially those that love collecting taxes, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that our sickest, poorest, and most isolated patients still need support and traveling to a dispensary and purchasing an adequate amount of cannabis is unrealistic. Yes, the cannabis system in Oregon is amazing for patients and consumers that can afford to purchase some of the best cannabis in the world, but we can do more to help those most in need. Senate Bill 758, which has a hearing today before the Senate Health Care Committee, will help course correct the OMMP and benefit tens of thousands of Oregonians battling severe and debilitating medical conditions.
Under Senate Bill 758, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act will be more properly renamed the Oregon Medical and Therapeutic Cannabis Act. Some key components of this important proposal:
-The state shall issue permanent cards for lifetime chronic conditions that cannot be cured.
-Naturopaths and any medical professionals that can prescribe medicine will be allowed to recommend cannabis.
-Expands PTSD definition to chronic anxiety and chronic depression.
-All Social Security Disability Insurance program patients will be eligible for a reduced state registration fee of $20.
-Requires state regulating agencies to collaborate on a plan to create a care and long term medical access program.
The proposal will also help benefit patients who find therapeutic value in gardening for themselves by eliminating regulatory hurdles and barriers for small medical cannabis gardens with 12 or less plants. This bill is a win-win for Oregon. After passage of SB 758, the Oregon cannabis industry will still be creating thousands of jobs and generating plenty of revenue, but more patients battling poverty will be helped. Please contact the Senate Health Committee and your legislators and urge them to support this important bill. A sincere thanks to Compassionate Oregon (my wife is a volunteer board member) for working hard for Oregon’s patients and on this important bill.
Kind Leaf is proud to provide OMMP patients with an additional 15% off all cannabis & hemp purchases.