Would legalizing marijuana in Oregon render moot the continuing issues with the state’s medical marijuana program?
As much as we like to write the words “render moot,” our best guess right now is probably not.
There are a lot of moving pieces surrounding marijuana in Oregon – especially in light of the votes in Colorado and Washington state to legalize the weed.
Already, the national organization that helped to drive the pot vote in Colorado has outlined a plan to persuade Oregon voters to approve a similar measure sometime in the next four years, according to a story last week in The Oregonian.
Given all that, you might expect the Legislature to generally steer clear of the entire issue in this year’s session.
But we think it’s more probable that legislators, while unlikely to approve a broad legalization measure, will take steps to fix some issues with the state’s medical marijuana program.
Last month, in fact, state Rep. Andy Olson said he was looking into a couple of legislative tweaks to the program.
First, he said he was considering an overhaul to mandate that medical marijuana patients under 18 get screened by a pediatrician twice a year to assess the value and necessity of the drug for those patients. Some pediatricians say not enough is known about how marijuana affects developing bodies.
Olson also suggested removing the loophole in the law that allows people from other states to obtain an Oregon medical marijuana card. He said Oregon is the only state that allows nonresidents to get those cards.
As for legalization itself, we still think the right measure may well win approval from Oregon voters — even though they twice have rejected attempts to expand the medical marijuana program and last November rejected Measure 80. But it’s hard to say what specifically voters didn’t like about Measure 80 — the idea of legalizing marijuana or the crazy quilt of other provisions that went along with the measure.
But the fact that another legalization ballot measure may be looming for Oregon voters shouldn’t stop legislators from enacting some common-sense fixes to the state’s medical marijuana program.