Legislators in Oregon have introduced a bill authorizing the state to grow and distribute marijuana for medical-marijuana patients, the Oregon Statesman Journal reported March 12.
The legislation requires that the state establish and operate a marijuana-production facility and be responsible for the distribution of the drug to pharmacies, which would then dispense marijuana to medical-use cardholders and primary caregivers. The bill also would impose a $98-per-ounce tax on marijuana to finance the state’s operating costs and for production-center security.
The law currently allows registered patients to possess six mature marijuana plants, 18 immature seedlings, and 24 ounces of usable marijuana.
Backers called the bill a safety measure that will that will help eliminate private marijuana growing sites and “take medical marijuana off the streets and into a safer and more secure environment,” said state Rep. Chris Harker.
Patient safety is an added concern, supporters said. “Many patients have no assurance that their marijuana is not laced with pesticides or other toxic chemicals,” said Rep. Jim Thompson.
Oregon was the second state in the U.S. to approve the use of medical marijuana, doing so in a 1998 referendum. As of January 2008, medical-marijuana cards were held by 20,842 patients and 10,424 caregivers.