Salem, OR: Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber has signed legislation, House Bill 3460, into law establishing regulations for the creation of state-licensed medical cannabis facilities.
The law tasks the Oregon Health Authority with crafting rules and regulations over the following 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, Nevada and New Hampshire.
Oregon is the fourth state this year to enact legislation allowing for the state-sponsored production and distribution of medical cannabis.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500.