(Ashland Daily Tidings) The nearly dozen legislative measures backers say are aimed at fine-tuning Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Program should be pooled together, says one of the bill’s sponsors.
“We need to take the best parts of all of them and put them together in one bill,” state Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, said Tuesday.
Esquivel, sponsor of House Bill 3202, which he said would stop abuse of the program approved by voters in 1998, has asked the co-chairs of the judiciary as well as the health and human services committees to consider his proposal.
But Robert Wolfe, director of the Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative, which represents a coalition of medical marijuana advocacy groups in the state, believes the bills are intended to severely limit and even dismantle Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Program.
The bills all call for cutting thousands of patients from the program, making it harder for new patients to obtain doctor-approved medical marijuana cards for conditions such as AIDS and cancer, he said.
In addition, they would dramatically reduce the amount of medical marijuana a patient may possess, cut the number of plants a patient may grow, add new restrictions on who is eligible for the program and allow much greater access into private homes by law enforcement officials, he said.
“There are two kinds of people smoking marijuana in Oregon,” he said. “There are those who go to the black market and ignore the law. Then there are the people who want to legally participate in the program to get their medicine.
“To kick them out of the system that is self-funding and punish them by making them go to the black market doesn’t make any sense,” he added. “There is no need for it.”
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