Oregon Marijuana: Time To Get Serious About Bad Actors

Though Oregon has finally established a regulated licensing system for its medical marijuana dispensaries, too many dispensaries are still operating without a license to do so. If Oregon allows this dual (legal/illegal) system to keep operating, it risks both federal government intervention (i.e. raids and arrests) and a system that economically discriminates against those who seek to operate within the law.

In the by now infamous Cole Memo, the federal government has made clear that “if state enforcement efforts are not sufficiently robust … the federal government may seek to challenge the regulatory structure itself in addition to continuing to bring individual enforcement actions, including criminal prosecutions, focused on those harms.”  The longer Oregon allows its legalized regime to be ignored, the more likely the federal government will act against it.

The failure of so many to abide by the Oregon’s regulatory laws also generates unlicensed competition, patient safety issues, and potential black market activity. If Oregon wants its dispensary program to succeed, the State’s law and regulatory enforcement must undertake a more serious effort to shut down non-compliant actors.

Passed in 1998, Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) is similar to Washington and California’s medical marijuana laws. OMMA allows patients with qualifying illnesses to possess and consume a certain amount of marijuana without the threat of arrest or prosecution. The statute, however, failed to provide mechanisms for creating a transparent and lawful chain of distribution regarding marijuana production and retail sales to patients.

Essentially, medical marijuana “outlets” and medicine distribution existed (and still exist) in a legal gray area, which put MMJ entrepreneurs and patients at risk of prosecution. Nonetheless, under the original OMMA, more than 200 medical marijuana facilities set up shop in Oregon without any State oversight, regulation, or standards, which in turn created a well-entrenched gray marketplace for medical marijuana.

To address the problems inherent in the original OMMA, Oregon enacted House Bill 3460 in 2013. HB 3460 strictly focuses on regulating and licensing the State’s medical marijuana dispensaries. It has set up a marijuana system for Oregon that requires dispensaries to follow a succinct set of laws and guidelines to obtain a license from the State, which includes undergoing background checks, meeting quality standards, and developing comprehensive security and safety systems for employees and patients.

Despite the passage of HB 3460, however, many dispensaries in Oregon continue to operate in a pre-regulation world with no license, no police enforcement, and no State oversight. These businesses plainly exist in direct violation of State regulatory law (this includes delivery services which are now barred pursuant to House Bill 3460). If Oregon hopes to make significant progress towards a safe, uniform dispensary system under HB 3460, its only option is to seek out and shut down those that operate outside the law.

Without an even playing field of licensed State dispensaries, HB 3460 will not be successful in its efforts to provide patients with safe access to medical marijuana. It also increases the risk of federal government intervention and arrests, which is the last thing we want to see, especially with legalization of adult use on the horizon.

3 responses to “Oregon Marijuana: Time To Get Serious About Bad Actors”

  1. Where to begin? The state has passed a half- assed law and now is surprised at a half -assed compliance?When the legislature forgets to codify edible and infused products or their producers then does a half assed attempt at saving face and over regulates packaging, demands testing but denies the industry which does this any legal status how can “compliance” be anything but half -assed? When out of state producers are selling their edible products while Oregon businesses are at the very best a grey area, compliance becomes a stop sign for Oregonians to participate in their own program. So yes even the playing field so Oregonians can participate in the program and do so within the law. There are those of us who have been doing our best to work under and comply with the OMMA and the rest of the MMJ program. Allowing out of state products for sale in our dispensaries is spitting in all of our faces. Denying legitimacy to infused product producers from Oregon is a slap across the cheeks. As the laws stand we are amateur hour as written and the present scared chicken psuedo-regulation of the edible “industry” which is not legal in the state as a business but sure is being regulated like one.
    Until reasonable laws are passed, and not these pathetic jokes lacking thought or infrastructure for implementation , compliance is not possible except in a most cursory and visible manner.In other words. You want compliance? Be compliable.

  2. Where
    to begin? The state has passed a half- assed law and now is surprised
    at a half -assed compliance?When the legislature forgets to codify
    edible and infused products or their producers then does a half assed
    attempt at saving face and over regulates packaging, demands testing but
    denies the industry which does this any legal status how can
    “compliance” be anything but half -assed? When out of state producers
    are selling their edible products while Oregon businesses are at
    the very best a grey area, compliance becomes a stop sign for
    Oregonians to participate in their own program. So yes even the playing
    field so Oregonians can participate in the program and do so within the
    law. There are those of us who have been doing our best to work under
    and comply with the OMMA and the rest of the MMJ program. Allowing out
    of state products for sale in our dispensaries is spitting in all of our
    faces. Denying legitimacy to infused product producers from Oregon is a
    slap across the cheeks. As the laws stand we are amateur hour as
    written and the present scared chicken psuedo-regulation of the edible
    “industry” which is not legal in the state as a business but sure is
    being regulated like one.
    Until reasonable laws are passed, and not
    these pathetic jokes lacking thought or infrastructure for
    implementation , compliance is not possible except in a most cursory and
    visible manner.In other words. You want compliance? Be compliable.
    I realize this post will be deleted again. I reposted this on several social media sites however and my point is not lost on other Oregonians who feel the same. So you can delete this again but my words have been heard and i say again. if you want compliance, be compliable or learn to love grey

  3. Let’s go back to the US constitution’s 4th amendment. It’s not reasonable to attack someones home because they grow weed. There is the law then there is justice. All federal laws regarding marijuana need to be repealed. The whole reefer madness is a fascist construct, collusion between corporados and politicians. It’s like herding cats, a diminishing return for the fascists, As they construct their matrix of law to hinder, slowdown or stop the evil weed, they actually are driving up the price and outsourcing sales to the marijuana farmers that refuse to play the game. Just 2 days ago weed went on sale in WA state, I worked on WA I-502. It’s 25 dollars a gram. Across the bridge from Vancouver,WA it’s only 7.07/gm, in Portland, OR. Now that WA state weed better be spectacular to be $25/gm. As a friend of my son said,”it better give me a blow job at that price”. They also don’t have enough to sell so it will be the underground to the rescue. Save all those wrappers you can sell them, and stuff them with “counterfeit weed” and sell it. After all counterfeiting is the American way. Just look at the counterfeit government we have and it’s fiat currency backed up by nothing but a false promise. Believe me faced with a line out the door, very little product, the shop owners will go shopping for weed to sell. Olympia don’t have it so it’s get out the old phone book and make some calls. see what’s out there. Now in OR they have an initiative to be voted on in November 2014. This initiative I call the ‘PIGWEED INITIATIVE” Why? It gives 33 I/3% of sales cash to police. Why? the police and DA’s built careers on lies. Under the fascist construct of reefer madness they built careers of murdering, robbing. stealing/destroying property of marijuana business folks in neither production, sales, or use. They shredded the constitution, violated human rights. Also under this pigweed initiative growers can only have 8 oz. and if they want to enter the fascist marketplace all types of costly hoops to jump through all the result of “it’s a dangerous plant” and other fascist reefer madness lies. I’ll have 50 plants if I want to irregardless of the limits and if I’m arrested tell the judge, ” this is really all about the cops aka pigs forcing us into their stores, to hand over the $$$. But weren’t these the same police that a few years ago were civilly forfeiting property before a conviction for growing , selling or using ganja? So on principle people will continue to patronize the underground, refuse to help fascists and make a stand to defend the constitution. It looks like the recently converted from defense attorney’s, and DEA operatives, and accountants consultants foir the cannabis business v. the undergrouind.

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