Last week was a busy one for medical marijuana reform efforts in Oregon.
First, the signature drive to put an initiative on the November ballot that would add medical marijuana dispensaries to the state’s existing law is coming to a close. With more than 74,000 signatures already verified, it is highly likely that this initiative will appear before the voters this year.
In other news, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that medical marijuana patients applying for a concealed-carry handgun license could not be denied based on their status as a “drug user.” While legal to use with a doctor’s recommendation in Oregon, marijuana is still considered an illegal drug under federal law. According to the federal Gun Control Act, marijuana use can be justification to prevent a person from carrying a concealed firearm. According to the Court of Appeals, however, state and local law enforcement personnel are required to follow state law, which does not explicitly prevent medical marijuana patients from obtaining the license.
Finally, with another groundbreaking move by a public entity, the Oregon Board of Pharmacy has voted to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule II drug. While this will have little effect on medical marijuana in the state, it carries a symbolic importance in the greater national campaign to remove marijuana from the overly restrictive Schedule I. In February, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy recommended the same change, but Oregon appears to be the first state to actually enact it. Marijuana still remains a Schedule I drug on the federal level.
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With all these moves to legitimize marijuana going on, it seems like things are looking up for Oregon patients. Make sure to keep your eye on Oregon in coming months to see if the dispensary initiative qualifies and if voters approve it in November.