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Oregon: Medical Marijuana Program Numbers Decrease, Patient and Grower Restrictions Increase

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Since recreational cannabis sales became legal, the number of people with medical cards dropped from 77,000 to 67,000, according to state officials

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Thousands of patients are letting their official Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) card lapse due to the financial cost to obtain the card. The annual fee is not worth the savings to obtain the medical card, according to several patients.

The Oregon Legislature recently passed SB 1057, which will subject medical growers to expensive seed to sale tracking. It does not allow the growers sell into the legal market.

Oregon: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Gear Up For Oct. 1 Recreational Sales

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon are preparing for a big moment this week: when recreational cannabis users will be able to come into their shops, and, for the first time, buy weed, no medical authorization required.

Of Oregon's 345 registered medical marijuana dispensaries, more than 200 have notified the Oregon Health Authority they'll start selling recreational marijuana on Thursday, October 1, reports Gosia Wozniacka at the Associated Press. Some of these dispensaries may not qualify right away if they're still in the application process and haven't been approved, according to Jonathan Modie, a spokesman for the OHA.

Oregon voters approved Measure 91 last November. The new law legalized possessiong and growing limited amounts of cannabis for personal use starting July 1. Since Oregon won't be ready to begin regulated recreational sales until next year, medical dispensaries are being allowed to conduct early sales of recreational cannabis, tax-free, as a temporary stop-gap and to curb black market sales.

Taxes on recreational marijuana sales won't begin until January 4, 2016, when a 25 percent tax on retail sales will be added.

Adults 21 and older can buy a quarter ounce (7 grams) of marijuana flowers. Edibles, extracts, concentrates and infused products aren't available in early recreational sales. Customers must provide government-issued photo ID as proof of age.

Oregon: State Marijuana Chief Fired By Liquor Control Commission

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Tom Burns, who directed marijuana programs for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, was fired on Thursday.

Burns saw implementation of the state's medical marijuana dispensary program, and had led efforts to establish a recreational cannabis market in the state after voters approved legalization last fall, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. Burns confirmed his dismissal in an interview with The Oregonian Thursday afternoon.

Declining to comment any further, Burns directed questions to Steven Marks, executive director of the OLCC; Marks couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Rob Patridge, chairman of the liquor control commission, declined to comment on Burns' firing, characterizing it as a "personel matter."

The position's duties will be taken on by Will Higlin, the OLCC's director of licensing, until a permanent replacement is named.

The agency announced that Burns' firing will not affect the timeline for drafting recreational marijuana industry rules and regulations.

State Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland), co-chair of the House-Senate committee on implementing recreational marijuana legalization, said she was shocked and disappointed by the news of Burns' firing.

"I don't know how we're going to get through this without him," Burdick said. "He's the most knowledgeable person on marijuana policy in the state. It's a real shock. It's going to be a real loss to the legislative effort."

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