Medical marijuana advocates rejoice as the Oregon House passes a bill legalizing medical marijuana retail establishments. The bill is now on its way to the governor’s desk.
Gov. John Kitzhaber will need to sign House Bill 3460 which will direct the Oregon Health Authority to create a registration system of establishments that sell medical marijuana. This will make the cannabis more accessible to patients since they are not allowed to plant it on their own yard.
The decision to pass the bill took almost a year to happen since the authorities needed to investigate and ensure that it will not be used by the black market. Oregon is now joining other states which have passed similar bills.
The bill was rejected twice but that didn’t discourage its advocates to continue pushing for it. Some retail establishments were even cleared out by the police such as Jackson, Washington and Malheur.
The Oregon Health Authority is now preparing the details of the registry so that they roll out the registry as soon as the governor signs it. The authority has until March 2014 to draft the rules regarding this new bill.
Under the new bill, operators of medical marijuana establishments will be allowed to set their own prices and have the option to reimburse state-registered cannabis growers if needed. Only Oregon residents are allowed to put up facilities and must grow it in-state as well. The Oregon Health Authority will carry out surprise inspections to ensure that the rules are being followed. Law enforcers will also be allowed to check in the registry if a store is listed in case they find it suspicious. Those planning to sell marijuana-infused products such as brownies, cookies, and candies should cancel the thought because that is still prohibited in the new bill.
Registered establishments may be asked to pay $4,000 per year by the Oregon Health Authority as licensing fee. They should also be at least 1,000 feet away from the other store so that one place will not be crowded with medical marijuana retail stores. The state expects about 255 establishments to register next year which will generate revenue of about $900,000.