This blog post was originally posted on January 14, 2015.
A hot issue for both Oregon and Washington in 2015 will be whether to somehow combine the medical and adult-use cannabis regimes, or to get rid of medical marijuana entirely. Supporters of doing away with medical marijuana largely rely on the disconnect between a heavily regulated and taxed recreational cannabis market vs. an unregulated and virtually un-taxed medical cannabis market. Proponents of medical marijuana point to the fact that, for patients, cannabis is medicine that should be easily accessible to those who need it. They ask: why would we tax this one form of medicine and not all others? The big question is how do we move forward with the two markets without negative impact on patients who legitimately obtain their low-cost cannabis through legitimate means? Recently, Washington legislatures have proposed solutions.
Senator Ann Rivers has proposed legislation which supports the medical system remaining intact and separate from the recreational system, but with some major modifications. Rivers proposes Washington only allow medical marijuana providers to sell concentrates and oils, and not dried bud.
Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles on the other hand, has proposed legislation that combines the medical and recreational systems, and ultimately adopts a combined single system. The medical marijuana system would be folded into the state’s regulated recreational marijuana system. This legislation proposes to provide certain tax breaks for patients who seek medical cannabis.
So, what could we expect from Oregon? There have been rumors in Oregon that a singular system may be adopted. However, this is pure speculation based on initial reactions by the Oregon legislature. Oregon's measure 91 does not reference Oregon's medical marijuana framework at all. All we can do is wait to see what the OLCC and legislature decide to do.
Every legal issue is very unique. Accordingly, the information in this blog is intended as general education material and not as legal advice. If you think you may have a legal issue you should consult an attorney.