Drug Law

Medical Marijuana Patient Registry Working In Oregon

| by NORML
By "CannaBob"

Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) is so successful that other states are copying their policies.

(Seattle Times) Washington state has no medical marijuana patient registry, but the Legislature is considering following Oregon’s lead as part of a sweeping overhaul bill pending in Olympia.

Patients in Washington are anxious about the proposed registry, seeing it as an invasion of privacy and a tempting tool for police, who strongly favor it, reports Jonathan Martin at The Seattle Times. Reflecting those fears, the current proposal in Washington calls for a voluntary registry.

But Oregon’s 11-year experience with a mandatory registry has resulted in patient advocates, police, attorneys and health-care professionals describing it as the least controversial part of the Beaver State’s medical marijuana law.

“I’ve been preaching this to my colleagues in Washington: A registry can protect you,” said Madeline Martinez, executive director of Oregon NORML. “Every state should have one.”  In Oregon, a patient whose physician recommends medical marijuana must enroll and pay the $100 yearly registry fee to gain protection from arrest or unwarranted searches of a home or grow site.  Membership has almost doubled from 23,114 in 2008 to 41,407 in 2010. Nearly 25 percent of Oregon’s doctors have  patient on the medical marijuana registry.

The registry is helpful because it allows police to quickly tell if a medical marijuana patient is legitimate, said Lt. Ted Phillips of the Oregon State Patrol’s narcotics section. Police can access the registry through a secure data link only to confirm a patient’s qualification, not to fish for names.