Out-of-Staters Now Eligible for Pot
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Out-of-Staters Now Eligible for Pot
Posted by CN Staff on August 12, 2010 at 07:50:59 PT
By Peter Korn
Source: Portland Tribune 
Oregon -- With expansion of the Oregon medical marijuana program set for voters to decide in November, state officials have reacted to a recent Oregon Court of Appeals decision by slightly expanding the program now.As of four weeks ago, people from out of state can come to Oregon and participate in the Oregon medical marijuana program. Like state residents, they need only visit a medical marijuana clinic where a physician can authorize their state-issued program cards and then either grow their own marijuana, designate someone else to grow it for them or pay to join a local club such as the Cannabis Café, where marijuana is distributed to cardholders.
The state changed its rule after Department of Justice attorneys reviewed the Court of Appeals case and determined that the law as written doesn’t actually exclude out-of-staters. But the new rule opens the possibility that tourists from states and countries that don’t have medical marijuana could visit Oregon intending to join this state’s program. Currently, only 14 states and the District of Columbia authorize medical marijuana.State public health officer Grant Higginson, who oversees the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, says he hasn’t seen evidence that large numbers of out-of-state residents will come to Oregon because of the rule change.Higginson says that so far, three out-of-state residents have obtained Oregon medical marijuana cards. There is a possibility that legislators may address the new rule change during the next legislative session, he says.“I have heard rumblings from some legislators concerned that this might open the program to people from out of state, which they believe was not the intent of the law,” Higginson says.Sandee Burbank, executive director of Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse, a pro-medical marijuana organization that runs a clinic for potential cardholders, says her clinic is seeing a woman from Texas who is spending a few months in Oregon and wanted medical marijuana for pain relief.Tom Bergin, Clatsop County sheriff and vice president of the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association, calls the policy change “ludicrous and absurd.”“Why should we allow people that don’t even live in this state benefit from the state?” Bergin says.Regardless of whether medical marijuana tourism ever takes root, the accelerated rate of new cardholders continues. A year ago, there were approximately 26,000 Oregon cardholders in the 11-year-old program. The latest figures from the Oregon Department of Human Services show 41,417 cardholders.Burbank says the rush of recent cardholders represents a different demographic than her clinic saw in the program’s first years. Previously, she says, the average age of applicants and cardholders at her organization’s Southeast Portland office was about 50. In the past year, she says, she has begun to see more senior citizens.Burbank says word of mouth and publicity resulting from the upcoming ballot measure have made more people aware of different uses for medical marijuana and different ways of ingesting it, such as tinctures and balms.“A lot of people are finding out you don’t have to smoke it. I hear that over and over again,” Burbank says.The November ballot measure would authorize state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries where cardholders could purchase marijuana. It also would allow for-profit medical marijuana farms to supply the dispensaries.Paul Stanford, who owns a network of medical marijuana clinics in nine states, including the state’s busiest in Northeast Portland, thinks 41,000 is still a fraction of the state residents who eventually might turn to medical marijuana.Stanford says word of mouth and overall greater acceptance of medical marijuana usage are responsible for the growing number of cardholders. Stanford says that at least 10 percent of Oregonians and possibly as many as one in three could qualify for a card. The majority of applications approved by physicians list pain relief as the qualifying condition.But the numbers of new cardholders can be deceiving, according to Stanford, who says only 55 percent to 60 percent of his clinic’s medical marijuana patients renew their cards. The rest, he says, forego the $100 annual fee because they find it too difficult to grow or acquire the cannabis.Should voters pass Ballot Measure 74 in November – providing cardholders a state-sanctioned source for cannabis – renewals as well as new applications could skyrocket, Stanford says.Publicity surrounding the ballot measure has probably contributed to the increase in card applications, says Stormy Ray, and that is unfortunate, in Ray’s estimation.Ray, president of the Stormy Ray Cardholders’ Association, was one of the driving forces behind the ballot measure that established Oregon’s medical marijuana program 11 years ago. But she says the program has been corrupted, and the accelerated growth in the number of cardholders is a symptom.“I would like to think it (the increase in applications) is because this great program is making such a great difference in the quality of patients’ lives,” Ray says. “But realistically, I think we’re just getting more and more information out about the program, and as we do, we get a lot of that outreach done by people who are taking advantage of the program.”Ray says she is seeing an increase in the number of designated growers and caregivers making “a very nice income by diverting patient medicine for a price tag.”Under the current program rules, medical marijuana growers and caregivers are not allowed to accept money for their services. Ray says she is preparing a Voters Pamphlet statement in opposition to Measure 74.Source: Portland Tribune (OR)Author: Peter KornPublished: August 12, 2010Copyright: 2010 Portland TribuneContact: letters portlandtribune.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on August 13, 2010 at 09:54:47 PT
The GCW comment 4
The comments at that article make me wish I had the wherewithal to register and comment in that comment string.May accomplish it yet. Those people need some things brought more into better focus for them.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on August 13, 2010 at 05:00:56 PT
It's posted now. Thank you.
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on August 12, 2010 at 20:48:18 PT
Legalize it?
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Comment #3 posted by rancher on August 12, 2010 at 18:37:15 PT:
Measure 74 will allow ORegon dispensaries
Measure 74 will create a regulated supply system of dispensaries and producers to suplement the grow your own system. It will be a big improvement on our medical marijuana law in Oregon which prohibits commerce, therby keeping medical marijuana in the dark ages.Learn more and help at www.regulatemedicalmarijuana.orgStormy Ray started as an advocate for patients. Now she works for law enforcement.
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Comment #2 posted by Storm Crow on August 12, 2010 at 09:06:11 PT
I live near the Oregon border, too! 
If I drive to Oregon to shop, or wish to visit my brother in Eugene for a week, being a California resident, I couldn't legally medicate there. I don't like breaking laws- even dumb ones about my using a safe herbal medicine! I'm allowed to drive in Oregon with my California driver's license, so why shouldn't I be allowed to medicate on my California recommendation? Although I think out and out reciprocity between Oregon and the other medical states would have been much simpler and more sensible, allowing dual recommendations is a reasonably acceptable, temporary, solution (that just happens to enrich Oregon border doctors). 
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on August 12, 2010 at 08:13:06 PT
I live at ground zero.
For the last two years people have been moving here from out of state. I have met several myself and have become friends of friends as of lately.People from states that have the most strict laws come here. They are still getting outrageous prices for a pound of herb not like the more liberal states.The best prices around here are about 2,500 a pound wholesale. In Utah, for example, you can still get 4,000 for good herb. I heard of higher prices elsewhere but my point is, it has been happening for a while now and is bound to attract even more seekers out this way. As unemployment continues to be a problem, many are out here seeking work on pot farms and trimming circles. They both pay about $20 per hour cash. You do your own income reporting?Many I have known for decades that were just previously getting by are prospering. New houses, cars, etc.Oregon Administrators are not stupid [mathematically] They can figure that if cannabis is the states number one cash crop, then it must be bringing in a lot of out of state money? It stands to reason that if we open up the industry to out of staters they will come here to grow, send it back home to their people and the money will come here to Oregon. Sound economics!
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