(reprinted from the NORML Weekly News, http://www.norml.org)
February 18, 1999, Portland,
OR: Legislators in Oregon and
"This is completely unnecessary," said Oregon initiative backer Geoff Sugerman. "This is an effort to open the door to wholesale changes to a law the voters passed just a couple of months ago."
Robert Killian, a Tacoma physician who spearheaded the Washington campaign, voiced similar concern. "It's a blind-sided attempt to basically bring the government back into regulation of patients' and doctors' relationships," he said.
Oregon's new law allows patients holding state permits to possess limited quantities of medical marijuana, and provides a legal defense for non-registered patients who use the drug under a doctor's supervision.
The state Health Division is responsible for issuing registration cards to patients, but has not yet done so. Proposed legislative changes to the law drafted by Rep. Kevin Mannix (R-Salem) would remove legal protections for patients who possess more than one ounce of medical marijuana or cultivate more than three mature plants at one time. House Bill 3052 also eliminates provisions requiring police to return medical marijuana to patients if they seized it improperly.
Washington's law allows patients who have a doctor's recommendation to possess up to a 60 day supply of medical marijuana. Proposed changes to the law in S.B. 5771 would require physicians who recommend marijuana to a patient to notify the state each time they do so. It would also allow law enforcement access to the records of all patients and physicians who use or recommend medical marijuana.
"Senate Bill 5771 will make it as difficult as possible for patients and doctors to use medical marijuana," said Dave Fratello of Americans for Medical Rights. "This bill is all about regulating and intimidating doctors and patients so severely that they will not take advantage of Washington's new state law."