Oregon Initiative 28 verifies 74,537 valid signatures, needs 82,769 by July 2 to qualify for ballot

The Oregon Secretary of State finished the verification of the 109,843 accepted signatures from the Coalition for Patients Rights 2010 to put Initiative 28 on the ballot in the November elections.   More signatures are needed before July 2 in order for Initiative 28 to qualify for the ballot.

The Oregon Secretary of State released the results of their verification on their website:

6/18/10 Verification of early submittal of signatures completed. Petition contained 74,537 valid signatures, or 67.86% of the 109,843 signatures accepted for verification. The number of signatures accepted for verification includes 1,764 sponsorship signatures. Chief petitioners may submit additional signatures not later than 07/02/10.

Currently, under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, medical marijuana patients must either grow their own or designate a person to grow their medical marijuana for them.  Proponents of Initiative 28 feel that access to medical marijuana has proven to be an obstacle to many patients, and prevented them from benefitting from the Oregon Medical Marijuana law that has been in place for over a decade.  John Sajo, Executive Director for Voter Power, says, “Most patients are going to use medicines they can easily and conveniently obtain and are more likely to use pharmaceuticals even though they are more dangerous [than medical marijuana].”
If Initiative 28 becomes law in November, medical marijuana patients will then have an additional option for obtaining their medical marijuana – purchasing medicine from a dispensary. Currently the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act requires that all transfers of medicine be for “no consideration.”  Since growers can only be reimbursed for supplies and utilities for the medical marijuana that they grow for their patients, and not their labor or other overhead, many patients find it difficult to find a grower that can consistently provide them with marijuana.  Sajo says, “The purpose of I 28 is to make sure that every patient qualifying for medical marijuana can obtain the medicine safely and conveniently.”
If Initiative 28 qualifies for the ballot, Oregon voters will be able to decide if Oregon will allow dispensaries to sell marijuana grown by licensed producers to Oregon Medical Marijuana Program cardholders.  The initiative will create two new categories of Oregon Medical Marijuana Program cardholders: producers and dispensaries.
  • Producers will be licensed with the state of Oregon for a $1000 annual license fee, that enables them to grow marijuana and sell it to dispensaries for a profit.  Producers will pay a 10% tax on gross revenue to the state.
  • Dispensaries will be licensed with the state of Oregon for a $2000 annual license fee, that enables them to sell marijuana to licensed cardholders for medical purposes.  Dispensaries will also pay a 10% tax on gross revenue to the state.

Producers and dispensaries will be required to “submit quarterly reports on all of their financial transactions, including transfers for no consideration.”  They will also be “subject to reasonable inspection by the department.”  DHS will be required to establish administrative rules to implement the act within six months, including requirements for minimal security and permissable locations of dispensaries.  “I 28 will create a system based on appropriate regulation that will allow Oregonians to decide how to best get medical cannabis products to the patients that will benefit from it,” says Sajo.

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