Oregon Senate OKs marijuana dispensary bill
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, July, 5th 2013 by THCFinder
SALEM — Seeking to make it easier for medical pot users to get their medicine and harder for the black market to get its hands on Oregon weed, the state Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would legalize and license marijuana shops.
Under Oregon law, nearly 55,000 cardholders must grow the drug themselves or designate someone to grow it for them. Medical pot users say dispensaries are needed to give them a reliable place to get their medicine.
Medical marijuana dispensaries that exist now operate without oversight and run the risk of being shut down by law enforcement.
Some counties have taken a hands-off approach and allowed the establishments to remain open. But dispensaries in other counties have been raided by police and forced to close.
Another major concern of Oregon's medical pot program is that the weed supposedly intended for medical marijuana patients is getting sold on the black market.
Architects of the bill passed on Wednesday say it will give cardholders certainty that they can acquire their medicine, and that it is safe. They also hope the bill will keep excess pot from being siphoned off to the black market.
"This is a great way to impose a standard that will keep that from occurring," said Sen. Floyd Prozanksi, D-Eugene.
The bill, which passed 18-12, would establish a licensing system under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to regulate the medicinal pot retail industry. This would bring the estimated 200 lounges, collectives and cafes already in operation under the purview of state law.
Opponents say the bill doesn't go far enough to stop what they see as abuses to the state's medical marijuana program. And some lawmakers have argued that authorizing dispensaries is a slippery slope to legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
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