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Medical Marijuana Patients Harmed By Oregon’s New Rules

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When House Bill (HB) 3400 was signed in to law by Oregon’s new Governor, Kate Brown, on June 30th, 2015, which regulated and restricted the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP), patients expected to be able to study the 111 page document and plan for how to operate legally. Typically bills that change state laws will stipulate several months or multiple years before implementation which helps people learn the new changes and plan accordingly. These changes have major implications to the people in the OMMP who would be committing a crime if they are ill-informed.

Northwest Alternative Health which runs medical marijuana clinics is one of my clients and I am in charge of helping run their Eugene clinics. The last time there was a change to the medical marijuana program was when the state added a reduced rate for an OMMP application for veterans deemed 100% disabled or receiving 100% pension by the VA. When this change occurred, a letter was sent to OMMP clinics to inform us of the change.

Roughly two months after HB 3400 was signed, medical marijuana patients who signed up after July 1st, 2015 started receiving letters from the OMMP stating that they needed to submit a grower residency form. Clinics, patients and growers were caught off guard wondering why the OHA was implementing this part of the bill so early. HB 3400 states on page 109 Section 173. (2) “the authority may not require proof of residency for any person whose name is included in the application for renewing a marijuana grow site registration or renewing a medical marijuana dispensary registration until January 1, 2016.” This means the OHA could have waited until January 1st 2016 to institute grower residency rules but they chose to do it on the earliest possible date. The OHA decided the rule went into effect July 1st 2015 with no warning, which was the day after the Governor signed the bill.

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