Oregon budget bill to double medical marijuana registry fees

(PORTLAND, Ore.) – Fees for registering with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program will double, from $100 per year to $200 per year, due to a Budget Bill that passed out of the Joint Ways and Means Committee and into the main chambers late Wednesday. The increase in fees was included in one of the over 30 bills that the Committee “barreled through” on Wednesday.

Bob Wolfe, Director and Spokesperson for the Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative (OMPI), agrees. He describes the increase in fees as a “de facto tax” and questioned those behind the increase. “Medical marijuana patients are ill, disabled, and often poor. This stealthy budget item is a de facto tax on vulnerable people. I’d like to know which scurrilous legislator or bureaucrat is responsible for this disgusting maneuver,” he said.

OMPI is a coalition of twelve large patient organizations, including Oregon Green Free, Mama’s, The Human Collective, and Oregon NORML, as well as many other independent advocates of medical marijuana. OMPI represents thousands of patients in Oregon, and has been active working at the legislature to protect Oregon Medical Marijuana Patients protection under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.

While Oregon is slashing its many aspects of its budget, the Oregon Health Authority will receive an increase over current spending to its budget of nearly 11%, reports OregonLive. The increased fees for OMMP patients are expected to contribute about $7 million dollars over the biennium, and will go towards a program for drinking water and emergency medical services.

OregonLive further reports: “Conspicuously absent Wednesday was the public safety budget, which includes money to run state prisons. Lawmakers are still struggling for ways to stem the escalating cost of incarceration.”  Continue reading…

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